The clinical and inflammatory relationships between periodontitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

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Aim: To investigate associations between periodontitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) with and without alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD), including neutrophil functions implicated in tissue damage. Methods: The presence and severity of periodontitis (using two international criteria) and lung disease were assessed in 156 COPD patients with and without AATD accounting for common confounding factors. Saliva and systemic inflammatory markers were measured by ELISA together with neutrophil migration. Results: COPD and AATD patients exhibited higher prevalence of periodontitis (COPD 95%; AATD 88%) than reported in unselected community-dwelling populations even when risk factors (age, smoking history, socio-economic status and dental habits) were considered. Periodontitis severity associated with lung disease severity (AATD, periodontitis versus no periodontitis; FEV1 = 56% versus 99% predicted; TLCO = 59% versus 81% predicted, p <.0001 for both). Neutrophil migratory accuracy declined in stage II–IV periodontitis patients with COPD or AATD compared to COPD or AATD with no or stage I periodontitis. Improved dental habits appeared to be associated with a reduction in exacerbation frequency in COPD. Conclusion: The results support shared pathophysiology between periodontitis and COPD, especially when associated with AATD. This may reflect an amplification of neutrophilic inflammation and altered neutrophil functions, already described in periodontitis, COPD and AATD.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1040-1052
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Clinical Periodontology
Issue number9
Early online date22 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2020


  • co-morbidity, inflammation, neutrophil biology, physiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas