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VBCR - April 2015, Volume 4, No 2 - In the News

Two conditions characterized by inflammation are linked, according to researchers: periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In fact, it is possible that periodontal disease may trigger the onset of RA. In a paper presented at the 93rd General Session and Exhibition of the International Association for Dental Research, Sheila Arvikar, MD, a rheumatologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, discussed research on inflammation in the mouth and joints in RA.

“There has been mounting evidence of a connection between RA and periodontal disease, with an increased severity of periodontal disease in RA patients. Both are chronic inflammatory conditions that share similar pathology, but the mechanisms that connect the diseases are unclear,” Arvikar wrote in an email.

The study was conducted to understand further the significance of P gingivalis antibodies, the levels of which are elevated in RA patients, and the link between these antibodies and RA. Arvikar and her colleagues performed joint and dental examinations, determined the presence of P gingivalis antibodies, and examined inflammatory microenvironments in 23 patients with RA and 20 age-matched subjects without periodontitis/RA. Of the 23 RA patients, 15 had new onset RA and 8 had chronic RA. “The fact that two-thirds of the patients had early RA is a rarity in these types of studies,” she wrote.

Serum P gingivalis IgG antibodies were measured by ELISA, and 23 inflammatory mediators were measured in serum, saliva, gingival crevicular fluid (GCF), and joint fluid by Luminex. All except 1 of the 23 patients received routine dental care and none was a smoker; 10 had gingivitis, and 9 had periodontitis. Despite the fact that most patients had routine dental care, a significant number (6 of 23, or 40%) had P gingivalis and all 6 had periodontitis. Also, RA patients exhibited marked inflammatory profiles in all microenvironments (serum, saliva, GCF, and joint fluid where available) even if they did not have periodontal disease.

Compared with healthy subjects, the RA patients had increased pocket depth, clinical attachment loss, bleeding on probing, and GCF volume.

The authors concluded that P gingivalis antibodies can be considered as biomarkers to help rheumatologists identify patients with periodontal disease who may benefit from treatment. Arvikar S, et al. Presented at: 93rd General Session and Exhibition of the International Association for Dental Research.

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Last modified: May 7, 2015
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