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Research Projects

Lactobacilli and bacteriocins in prevention and treatment of periodontitis, peri-implantitis and systemic inflammation

About this project

About this project

Project information

Projekt Status

In progress


Torbjörn Bengtsson

Research Subject

Research environments

The oral cavity harbours a wide variety of lactobacilli species, which play an important role in the maintenance of a healthy balance of the oral ecosystem and are suggested to have protective effects in the pathogenesis of both periodontal and cardiovascular disease. Many of these lactobacilli species are outcompeted by gram-negative pathogens, including P. gingivalis, during disease progression. Re-introduction and establishment of lactobacilli may therefore serve to suppress P. gingivalis biofilm formation and development of periodontitis. It has previously been reported that certain lactobacilli species, including L. rhamnosus and L. salivarius, possess antimicrobial activity against periodontal pathogens, such as P. gingivalis.

It is therefore important to determine the initial interactions between P. gingivalis-derived products and gingival fibroblasts, as well as the interplay between P. gingivalis and other bacterial species, including lactobacilli that may be used as a strategy to prevent colonization by pathogens. Preliminary results in our lab indicate that the antibacterial effects of some lactobacilli species are attributed to antibacterial peptides i.e. bacteriocins. We hypothesize that lactobacilli species are able to suppress P. gingivalis-derived virulence and help restore host immune response. The aim of the present study is to characterize the expression and effects of different P. gingivalis virulence factors on human gingival fibroblasts. Furthermore, we will investigate the capabilities of different lactobacilli strains to suppress P. gingivalis growth and restore host immune responses.  More specifically: i) identify and isolate anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory substances, e.g. bacteriocins and fatty acids, in different lactobacilli strains ii) synthesize effective analogoues of bacteriocins and/or short active sequences of bacteriocins and chemically bind these to teeth or dental implants iii) clinically evaluate the new preventive and therapeutic tools by measuring the degree of re-colonization of periodontal bacteria on teeth after periodontal treatment and/or on dental implants. New sensitive methods for prevention and treatment of periodontitis and peri-implantitis, and related systemic inflammatory conditions, will improve the quality of life of people and reduce the costs for the society.



Hazem Khalaf

Torbjörn Bengtsson

Nikolai Scherbak

Atika Khalaf

Daniel Aili; Linköpings universitet

Carin Starkhammar-Johansson; Oral Rehab. Folktandvården, Linköping


Research Teams

Research funding bodies

  • The Knowledge Foundation
  • Swedish Research Council


  • Carin Starkhammar Johansson, Linköpings universitet
  • Daniel Aili, Linköpings Universitet