Inhibitors of benzamidine type influence the virulence properties of Porphyromonas gingivalis strains.

  • Sigrun Eick Department of Oral Microbiology and Institute of Vascular Biology and Medicine, University Hospital of Jena, Germany.;
  • Wolfgang Pfister
  • Uta Stürzebecher
  • Sigrid Jarema
  • Jörg Stürzebecher


Synthetic inhibitors of benzamidine type have been found to have inhibiting effects on arginine specific cysteine proteinases of P. gingivalis. The purpose of our study was to assess the effects of these inhibitors on the virulence properties of two P. gingivalis strains, the reference strain ATCC 33277 and JH16-1, a clinical isolate obtained from a patient with severe periodontitis. The inhibitors tested were pentamidine, benzamidine, three bis-benzamidine derivatives with a pentamidine-related structure, one bis-benzamidine derivative with another structure, and one arginine derivative as a negative control, each in the concentrations of 2 microM and 20 microM. As virulence criteria the following parameters were determined: arginine-specific amidolytic activity, growth inhibition, hemagglutination of sheep erythrocytes, adherence to KB cells and immuno-phagocytosis including intracellular killing. Pentamidine and the bis-benzamidine derivatives with pentamidine-related structure showed the most remarkable effects on reduction of amidolytic activity by 35%, growth inhibition and reduced hemagglutination. Except for the arginine derivative all other inhibitors tested enhanced the phagocytosis capacities of granulocytes. No clear influence of the inhibitors on adherence of P. gingivalis to KB cells was seen. Although in vitro effects of the synthetic inhibitors of cysteine proteinases on virulence of P. gingivalis were observed further in vitro tests concerning immunomodulatory effects should be done before these substances are used for therapy in clinically controlled studies.