Cytokine Score May Indicate Periodontal Inflammation Level
Researchers at New York University College of Dentistry have developed a single score to assess the level of cytokines found in saliva, and they contend this score corresponds to the severity of periodontal inflammation.
Researchers at New York University College of Dentistry have developed a single score to assess the level of cytokines found in saliva, and they contend this score corresponds to the severity of periodontal inflammation. While more research is needed to test this approach, a simple salivary assay could hold promise for measuring how well a patient responds to periodontal therapy, and also predict disease recurrence or detect ongoing inflammation related to systemic conditions.
Noting that markers of periodontal inflammation are found in saliva, the authors further observe that periodontitis results from complex interactions within the oral microbiome, and periodontally involved gingival inflammation produces high levels of cytokines — small proteins that signal the immune system — especially pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-8, IL-1β, IL-6 and TNFα. In their investigation, “Periodontal Inflamed Surface Area (PISA) Associates With Composites of Salivary Cytokines,” published in PLoS One, researchers evaluated gingival tissues and saliva in 67 adults with periodontal disease. The saliva samples were analyzed to measure a range of both pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines, and the resulting Cytokine Component Index and Composite Inflammatory Index were combined into a single score.
They found that PISA scores were significantly associated with the cytokine scores, independent of other factors, such as age, gender, smoking and body mass index. The authors — who note that higher salivary cytokine scores equate with more severe periodontal inflammation — caution that more research is needed to substantiate this theory. If the cytokine score is validated in larger and more diverse patient populations, they suggest this tool could be used to better understand the progression and recurrence of periodontitis, as well as its potential connection to various systemic diseases.
From Decisions in Dentistry. May 2023;9(5):8.