Clinical, microbiological, and immunological markers of gingival and periodontal disease induction and progression

David P Cappelli, The University of Texas School of Public Health


The potential impact of periodontal disease, a suspected risk factor for systemic diseases, presents challenges for health promotion and disease prevention strategies. This study examined clinical, microbiological, and immunological factors in a disease model to identify potential biomarkers that may be useful in predicting the onset and severity of both inflammatory and destructive periodontal disease. This project used an historical cohort design based on data obtained from 47 adult, female nonhuman primates followed over a 6-year period for 5 unique projects where the ligature-induced model of periodontitis was utilized. Standardization of protocols for sample collection allowed for comparison over time. Bleeding and pocket depth measures were selected as the dependent variables of relevance to humans based upon the literature and historical observations. Exposure variables included supragingival plaque, attachment level, total bacteria, black-pigmented bacteria, Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria, total IgG and IgA in crevicular fluid, specific IgG antibody in both crevicular fluid and serum, and IgG antibody to four select pathogenic microorganisms. Three approaches were used to analyze the data from this study. The first approach tested for differences in the means of the response variables within the group and among longitudinal observations within the group at each time point. The second approach examined the relationship among the clinical, microbiological, and immunological variables using correlation coefficients and stratified analyses. Multivariable models using GEE for repeated measures were produced as a predictive description of the induction and progression of gingivitis and periodontal disease. The multivariable models for bleeding (gingivitis) include supragingival plaque, total bacteria and total IgG while the second also contains supragingival plaque, Gram-positive bacteria, and total IgG. Two multivariable models emerged for periodontal disease. One multivariable model contains plaque, total bacteria, total IgG and attachment level. The second model includes black-pigmented bacteria, total bacteria, antibody to Campylobacter rectus, and attachment level. Utilization of the nonhuman primate model to prospectively examine causal hypotheses can provide a focus for human research on the mechanisms of progression from health to gingivitis to periodontitis. Ultimately, causal theories can guide strategies to prevent disease initiation and reduce disease severity.

Subject Area

Public health|Dental care

Recommended Citation

Cappelli, David P, "Clinical, microbiological, and immunological markers of gingival and periodontal disease induction and progression" (2002). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3146399.