Surfactin attenuates particulate matter-induced COX-2-dependent PGE2 production in human gingival fibroblasts by inhibiting TLR2 and TLR4/MyD88/NADPH oxidase/ROS/PI3K/Akt/NF-κB signaling pathway

Thi Thuy Tien Vo, Yinshen Wee, Yuh Lien Chen, Hsin Chung Cheng, Vo Phuoc Tuan, I. Ta Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To evaluate the anti-inflammatory effects of surfactin and underlying mechanisms against particulate matter (PM)-induced inflammatory responses in human gingival fibroblasts (HGFs). Background: PM, a major air pollutant, may associate with certain oral diseases possibly by inducing inflammation and oxidative stress. Surfactin, a potent biosurfactant, possesses various biological properties including anti-inflammatory activity. However, the underlying mechanisms are unclear. Also, there is no study investigating the effects of surfactin on PM-induced oral inflammatory responses. As an essential constituent of human periodontal connective tissues which involves immune-inflammatory responses, HGFs serve as useful study models. Methods: HGFs were pretreated with surfactin prior to PM incubation. The PGE2 production was determined by ELISA, while the protein expression and mRNA levels of COX-2 and upstream regulators were measured using Western blot and real-time PCR, respectively. The transcriptional activity of COX-2 and NF-κB were determined using promoter assay. ROS generation and NADPH oxidase activity were identified by specific assays. Co-immunoprecipitation assay, pharmacologic inhibitors, and siRNA transfection were applied to explore the interplay of molecules. Mice were given one dose of surfactin or different pharmacologic inhibitors, then PM was delivered into the gingiva for three consecutive days. Gingival tissues were obtained for analyzing COX-2 expression. Results: PM-treated HGFs released significantly higher COX-2-dependent PGE2, which were regulated by TLR2 and TLR4/MyD88/NADPH oxidase/ROS/PI3K/Akt/NF-κB pathway. PM-induced COX-2/PGE2 increase was effectively reversed by surfactin through the disruption of regulatory pathway. Similar inhibitory effects of surfactin was observed in mice. Conclusion: Surfactin may elicit anti-inflammatory effects against PM-induced oral inflammatory responses.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Periodontal Research
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • inflammation
  • oral diseases
  • oxidative stress
  • particulate matter
  • surfactin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Periodontics


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