OBJECTIVEThe objective of this study was to develop a rodent model of Porphyromonas gingivalis infection during pregnancy.STUDY DESIGNSprague Dawley rats were infected intravenously with 10(5), 10(7), or 10(9) CFU per dam of P gingivalis strain W83, ATCC 33277, or A7436 at gestational day 14 and necropsied at gestational day 18. Maternal organs were cultured to assess the spread of the infection. Six fetal units (placenta, amniotic fluid, membranes, and fetus) per dam were cultured; additional fetal units were examined by histopathology. Polymerase chain reaction was performed on placentas.RESULTSColonization rates were dependent on the strain of P gingivalis used and the infection dose. At an infection dose of 10(9) CFU/dam, P gingivalis W83, ATCC 33277, or A7436 was detected in 33%, 83%, or 100% of placentas, respectively. Epithelial hyperplasia, cellular necrosis, and inflammatory infiltrate were observed in infected placental tissues.CONCLUSIONThis study demonstrated that P gingivalis can invade both maternal and fetal tissues, resulting in chorioamnionitis and placentitis.