Exploring the role of oral bacteria in atherothrombosis

Department of Conservative and Preventive Dentistry at the Dentistry Faculty of the Free University and the University of Amsterdam (ACTA) is mostly interested in the role of bacteria and bacterial-host interaction in oral infections.

Epidemiological studies have suggested that oral infection, especially marginal and apical periodontitis, is a risk factor for a variety of systemic diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease. Since the teeth are the only non-shedding surfaces in the body, bacterial levels can reach more than 1011 microorganisms per mg of dental plaque. The anatomic closeness of these microfloras to the bloodstream can facilitate bacteremia and systemic spread of bacterial products, components, and immunocomplexes.

There is a growing interest in the role of oral infection in atherothrombotic conditions. It is known that bacteria of oral origin, such as Porphyromonas gingivalis or Streptococcus sanguinis can induce platelet activation and aggregation. However, the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. The aim of this project is to understand the involvement of oral bacteria in platelet activation and aggregation and to explore molecular mechanisms of platelet activation by P. gingivalis and S. sanguinis. To achieve this goal, up to 15 representative oral bacterial species will be tested for their capability of platelet activation.  Various isogenic knockout mutants of P. gingivalis and S. sanguinis will be included in platelet activation assay to investigate various gene functions. 


Techniques to be used in this project are:

  • Aerobic and anaerobic culturing
  • Whole blood stimulation assay 
  • Flow cytometry 
  • Aggregometry
  • Microscopic examination


Dr. Elena Nicu

Dr. Dongmei Deng

Department of Conservative and Preventive Dentistry
Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam
Gustav Mahlerlaan 3004
1081 LA Amsterdam