Enhancing production of herpes simplex virus type 1 in oral epithelial cells by co-infection with Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans

Ching Yi Wu, Zhu Yun Yu, Yu Chun Hsu, Shan Ling Hung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background/purpose: The association between herpetic/bacterial co-infection and periodontal diseases has been reported. However, how interactions between herpesviruses and periodontal bacteria dampen periodontal inflammation is still unclear. This study determined effects of co-infection with oral bacteria, including Streptococcus sanguinis, Fusobacterium nucleatum or Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, in herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1)-infected oral epithelial cells. Methods: Cell viability was determined by detection the activity of mitochondrial dehydrogenase. Viral production was measured using the plaque assay. Levels of bacterial and viral DNA were determined by real-time polymerase chain reaction. Secretion of interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-8 was measured using the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Results: Viability was not further reduced by bacterial co-infection in HSV-1-infected cells. Co-infection with HSV-1 and S. sanguinis or F. nucleatum reduced the viral yield whereas co-infection with HSV-1 and A. actinomycetemcomitans significantly enhanced the viral yield in oral epithelial cells. The enhancing effect of A. actinomycetemcomitans was not affected by bacterial heat-inactivation. Co-infection with HSV-1/A. actinomycetemcomitans increased intracellular levels of both viral and bacterial DNA. Secretion of IL-6 and IL-8 stimulated by A. actinomycetemcomitans infection was partly reduced by co-infection with HSV-1 in oral epithelial cells. Conclusion: In contrast to S. sanguinis and F. nucleatum, A. actinomycetemcomitans enhanced the yield of HSV-1. Either HSV-1 or A. actinomycetemcomitans may be benefited from co-infection, in aspects of increases in production of viral and bacterial DNA as well as reductions in cytokine secretion. These findings echoed with previous clinical studies showing co-infection of HSV and A. actinomycetemcomitans in patients with aggressive periodontitis.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Formosan Medical Association
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Aggregatibacter actinomyce-temcomitans
  • Fusobacterium nucleatum
  • Herpes simplex virus type 1
  • Oral epithelial cells
  • Streptococcus sanguinis


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