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Oral Microbiol Immunol. 1987 Jun;2(2):53-9.

Human serum antibody responses to oral microorganisms. IV. Correlation with homologous infection.

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Department of Periodontics, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio 78284, USA.


Recent microbiological studies of periodontal disease in humans have supported the concept of a specific bacterial etiology. While individual agents have not been unequivocally identified, numerous Gram-negative members of the subgingival microflora have been implicated. In addition, elevations in systemic antibody responses have been consistent with certain oral microorganisms being involved in an infectious process associated with the disease. This report delineates the relationship between elevated systemic antibody levels and oral colonization with the homologous microorganism at active disease sites. Thirty-four patients with various types of periodontal disease were examined. Using ELISA, each patient was shown to have an elevated antibody response to at least one organism from a battery of 18 oral microorganisms that were tested. Subsequently, subgingival plaque was cultured from disease-active and -inactive sites of each subject. The results demonstrated that the same microorganism to which the individual exhibited elevated serum antibody responses was detected in nearly 55% of the disease-active sites, while only 18% of the inactive sites showed the microorganism. Certain microorganisms including Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans, Bacteroides gingivalis, Eikenella corrodens and Wolinella recta were primarily or exclusively correlated with active disease lesions. These findings support the hypothesis that elevated systemic antibodies to periodontopathic bacteria are reflective of subgingival colonization and exist as a response to a bacterial infection at disease-active sites.

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