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Frankincense (Boswellia serrata) Extract Effects on Growth and Biofilm Formation of Porphyromonas gingivalis, and Its Intracellular Infection in Human Gingival Epithelial Cells

by David Vang , Aline Cristina Abreu Moreira-Souza , Nicholas Zusman , German Moncada , Harmony Matshik Dakafay , Homer Asadi , David M. Ojcius and Cassio Luiz Coutinho Almeida-da-Silva 


Frankincense is produced by Boswellia trees, which can be found throughout the Middle East and parts of Africa and Asia. Boswellia serrata extract has been shown to have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial effects. Periodontitis is an oral chronic inflammatory disease that affects nearly half of the US population. We investigated the antimicrobial effects of B. serrata extract on two oral pathogens associated with periodontitis. Using the minimum inhibitory concentration and crystal violet staining methods, we demonstrated that Porphyromonas gingivalis growth and biofilm formation were impaired by treatment with B. serrata extracts. However, the effects on Fusobacterium nucleatum growth and biofilm formation were not significant. Using quantification of colony-forming units and microscopy techniques, we also showed that concentrations of B. serrata that were not toxic for host cells decreased intracellular P. gingivalis infection in human gingival epithelial cells. Our results show antimicrobial activity of a natural product extracted from Boswellia trees (B. serrata) against periodontopathogens. Thus, B. serrata has the potential for preventing and/or treating periodontal diseases. Future studies will identify the molecular components of B. serrata extracts responsible for the beneficial effects.

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