In vitro effects of Streptococcus oralis biofilm on peri-Implant soft tissue cells
Human gingival epithelial cells (HGEps) and fibroblasts (HGFs) are the main cell types in peri-implant soft tissue. HGEps are constantly exposed to bacteria, but HGFs are protected by connective tissue as long as the mucosa-implant seal is intact. Streptococcus oralis is one of the commensal bacteria, is highly abundant at healthy implant sites, and might modulate soft tissue cells-as has been described for other streptococci. We have therefore investigated the effects of the S. oralis biofilm on HGEps and HGFs. HGEps or HGFs were grown separately on titanium disks and responded to challenge with S. oralis biofilm. HGFs were severely damaged after 4 h, exhibiting transcriptional inflammatory and stress responses. In contrast, challenge with S. oralis only induced a mild transcriptional inflammatory response in HGEps, without cellular damage. HGFs were more susceptible to the S. oralis biofilm than HGEps. The pro-inflammatory interleukin 6 (IL-6) was attenuated in HGFs, as was interleukin 8 (CXCL8) in HGEps. This indicates that S. oralis can actively protect tissue. In conclusion, commensal biofilms can promote homeostatic tissue protection, but only if the implant-mucosa interface is intact and HGFs are not directly exposed.