Background: Alveolar bone resorption is a characteristic feature of periodontal diseases and involves the removal of both the mineral and organic constituents of the bone matrix, which is caused by either multinucleated osteoclast cells or matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). The gram-negative bacterium, Porphyromonas gingivalis has been reported to stimulate the activity and expression of several groups of MMPs, whereas (-)-epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), the main constituent of green tea polyphenols, has been reported to have inhibitory effects on the activity and expression of MMPs. Objectives: In the present study, we investigated the effects of the green tea polyphenol, EGCG, on the gene expression of osteoblast-derived MMP-2, -9 and -13, stimulated by P. gingivalis, and on the formation of osteoclasts. Methods: The effect of EGCG on the gene expression of MMPs was examined by treating mouse calvarial primary osteoblastic cells with EGCG (20 μM) in the presence of sonicated P. gingivalis extracts. The transcription levels of MMP-2, -9 and -13 were assessed by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The effect of EGCG on osteoclast formation was confirmed by tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) staining in a co-culture system of mouse bone marrow cells and calvarial primary osteoblastic cells. Results: Treatment with the sonicated P. gingivalis extracts stimulated the expression of MMP-9 mRNA and this effect was significantly reduced by EGCG, whereas the transcription levels of MMP-2 and MMP-13 were not affected by either the sonicated P. gingivalis extracts or EGCG. In addition, EGCG significantly inhibited osteoclast formation in the co-culture system at a concentration of 20 μM. Conclusions: These findings suggest that EGCG may prevent the alveolar bone resorption that occurs in periodontal diseases by inhibiting the expression of MMP-9 in osteoblasts and the formation of osteoclasts.
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