Subgingival bacterial colonization profiles correlate with gingival tissue gene expression

Panos N Papapanou, Jan H Behle, Moritz Kebschull, Romanita Celenti, Dana L Wolf, Martin Handfield, Paul Pavlidis, Ryan T Demmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Periodontitis is a chronic inflammatory disease caused by the microbiota of the periodontal pocket. We investigated the association between subgingival bacterial profiles and gene expression patterns in gingival tissues of patients with periodontitis. A total of 120 patients undergoing periodontal surgery contributed with a minimum of two interproximal gingival papillae (range 2-4) from a maxillary posterior region. Prior to tissue harvesting, subgingival plaque samples were collected from the mesial and distal aspects of each tissue sample. Gingival tissue RNA was extracted, reverse-transcribed, labeled, and hybridized with whole-genome microarrays (310 in total). Plaque samples were analyzed using checkerboard DNA-DNA hybridizations with respect to 11 bacterial species. Random effects linear regression models considered bacterial levels as exposure and expression profiles as outcome variables. Gene Ontology analyses summarized the expression patterns into biologically relevant categories.

RESULTS: Wide inter-species variation was noted in the number of differentially expressed gingival tissue genes according to subgingival bacterial levels: Using a Bonferroni correction (p < 9.15 x 10(-7)), 9,392 probe sets were differentially associated with levels of Tannerella forsythia, 8,537 with Porphyromonas gingivalis, 6,460 with Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, 506 with Eikenella corrodens and only 8 with Actinomyces naeslundii. Cluster analysis identified commonalities and differences among tissue gene expression patterns differentially regulated according to bacterial levels.

CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that the microbial content of the periodontal pocket is a determinant of gene expression in the gingival tissues and provide new insights into the differential ability of periodontal species to elicit a local host response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221
JournalBMC Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2009


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bacteria/growth & development
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Dental Plaque/genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Gingiva/metabolism
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Periodontal Pocket/genetics
  • Species Specificity
  • Young Adult


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