Hemagglutinin B (HagB) is a nonfimbrial adhesin expressed on the surface of Porphyromonas gingivalis and has been implicated as a potential virulence factor involved in mediating the attachment of the bacteria to host cells. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying host responses to HagB and their roles in pathogenesis have yet to be elucidated. Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) are activated following engagement of a variety of cell surface receptors via dual tyrosine and threonine phosphorylation and are thought to be involved in various cellular responses. The purpose of this study was to determine the role of intracellular signaling pathways including the MAPKs and NF-κB in regulating the production of proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines following stimulation of murine macrophages with recombinant HagB (rHagB). Stimulation of peritoneal macrophages with rHagB resulted in the production of the proinflammatory cytokines interleukin-12p40 (IL-12p40), gamma interferon (IFN-γ), and tumor necrosis factor alpha, as well as the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10. We also demonstrated the activation of extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK), c-Jun NH 2-terminal protein kinase (JNK), and p38 MAPKs by rHagB-stimulated macrophages. Furthermore, blocking of the ERK and p38 signaling pathways by using specific inhibitors revealed differential regulatory roles in the rHagB-mediated production of proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines. ERK and p38 were important in down-regulation of IL-12p40 and IFN-γ production and up-regulation of IL-10 production. The enhanced levels of IL-12p40 in rHagB-stimulated macrophages by inhibition of ERK or p38 activity were partially attributable to the inhibition of IL-10 production. Moreover, NF-κB was found to be critical for up-regulation of IL-12p40 and down-regulation of IL-10 production in rHagB-stimulated macrophages. Taken together, our results demonstrate a role for the p38 and ERK pathways and the transcription factor NF-κB in modulating key immunoregulatory cytokines involved in the development of immune responses to P. gingivalis HagB. Copyright © 2005, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.