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J Dent Res. 2014 Mar;93(3):231-7. doi: 10.1177/0022034513507956. Epub 2013 Oct 4.

Neutrophil homeostasis and periodontal health in children and adults.

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  • 1University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, Department of Preventive and Restorative Sciences, Division of Pediatric Dentistry, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


This review summarizes the current state of knowledge on neutrophil basic biology and discusses how the breakdown of neutrophil homeostasis affects periodontal health. The homeostasis of neutrophils is tightly regulated through coordinated bone marrow production, release into the circulation, transmigration to and activation in peripheral tissues, and clearance of senescent neutrophils. Dysregulation of any of these homeostatic mechanisms at any age can cause severe periodontitis in humans and animal models. Accordingly, both impaired and excessive neutrophil activity (in terms of numbers or immune function) can precipitate periodontitis. Neutrophil defects of congenital origin (e.g., congenital neutropenia, leukocyte adhesion deficiency, and Chediak-Higashi syndrome) are associated with cutaneous and systemic infections and early-onset forms of periodontitis affecting both the primary and permanent dentitions of children. However, the strong association between congenital neutrophil disorders and early-onset periodontitis is not currently adequately explained mechanistically. This suggests the operation of as-yet-unknown molecular mechanisms, although the available body of evidence leaves no doubt that neutrophils are integral to periodontal tissue homeostasis and health.


bone marrow; congenital syndromes; inflammation; leukocyte adhesion molecules; neutrophil infiltration; periodontitis

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