Several studies have demonstrated the remarkable properties of microbiota and their metabolites in the pathogenesis of several inflammatory diseases. 10-Hydroxy-cis-12-octadecenoic acid (HYA), a bioactive metabolite generated by probiotic microorganisms during the process of fatty acid metabolism, has been studied for its protective effects against epithelial barrier impairment in the intestines. Herein, we examined the effect of HYA on gingival epithelial barrier function and its possible application for the prevention and treatment of periodontal disease. We found that GPR40, a fatty acid receptor, was expressed on gingival epithelial cells; activation of GPR40 by HYA significantly inhibited barrier impairment induced by Porphyromonas gingivalis, a representative periodontopathic bacterium. The degradation of E-cadherin and beta-catenin, basic components of the epithelial barrier, was prevented in a GPR40-dependent manner in vitro. Oral inoculation of HYA in a mouse experimental periodontitis model suppressed the bacteria-induced degradation of E-cadherin and subsequent inflammatory cytokine production in the gingival tissue. Collectively, these results suggest that HYA exerts a protective function, through GPR40 signaling, against periodontopathic bacteria-induced gingival epithelial barrier impairment and contributes to the suppression of inflammatory responses in periodontal diseases.
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