Tobacco enhances pathogenicity of Filifactor alocis leading to Periodontitis

Tobacco enhances pathogenicity of Filifactor alocis leading
to Periodontitis suggests a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical

Tobacco smoke is a sooty aerosol produced by the incomplete
combustion of tobacco during the smoking of cigarettes and other tobacco
products. All forms of tobacco are harmful, and there is no safe level of
exposure to tobacco. Filifactor alocis has recently emerged as a periodontal
pathobiont that appears to thrive in the oral cavity of smokers. We
hypothesized that identification of smoke-responsive Filifactor alocis genes
would provide insight into adaptive strategies and that cigarette smoke would
enhance F. alocis pathogenesis in vivo.

Filifactor alocis was grown in vitro and cigarette smoke
extract-responsive genes determined by RNAseq. Mice were exposed, or not, to
mainstream 1R6F research cigarette smoke and infected with F. alocis, or not,
in an acute ligature model of periodontitis. Key clinical, infectious, and
immune data were collected.


  • In culture, F. alocis growth was unaffected by
    smoke conditioning and only a small number of genes were specifically regulated
    by smoke exposure.
  • Reduced murine mass, differences in F.
    alocis-cognizant antibody production, and altered immune profiles as well as
    altered alveolar bone loss were all attributable to smoke exposure and/or F.
    alocis infection in vivo.

Thus, F. alocis is well-adapted to tobacco-rich conditions
and its pathogenesis is enhanced by tobacco smoke exposure. A smoke-exposed
ligature model of periodontitis shows promise as a tool with which to further
unravel mechanisms underlying tobacco-enhanced, bacteria-induced disease.


Iskander, M. M. Z., Lamont, G. J., Tan, J., Pisano, M.,
Uriarte, S. M., & Scott, D. A. (2022). Tobacco smoke exacerbates Filifactor
alocis pathogenicity. Journal of Clinical Periodontology, 1– 10.


Tobacco, enhances, pathogenicity, Filifactor, alocis, Periodontitis,
Journal of Clinical Periodontology, Mina M. Z. Iskander, Gwyneth J. Lamont,
Jinlian Tan, Michele Pisano,Silvia M. Uriarte, David A. Scott

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