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Crit Rev Oral Biol Med. 2001;12(2):125-35.

Involvement of T-lymphocytes in periodontal disease and in direct and indirect induction of bone resorption.

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Department of Immunology, The Forsyth Institute, Boston, MA 02115-3799, USA.


Periodontal disease is a peripheral infection involving species of gram-negative organisms. T-lymphocytes can be found in the dense inflammatory infiltrate in this disease. CD4+ and CD8+ T-cells are present in periodontal lesions, as are memory/activated T-lymphocytes. In addition, Th1- and Th2-type T-lymphocytes and their associated cytokines with a subtle polarization to Th1 may be present. Th1-type T-cells up-regulate the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1 and TNF-alpha, which can induce bone resorption indirectly by promoting differentiation of osteoclast precursors and subsequently by activating osteoclasts. Such osteoclast differentiation is dependent on stimulation of osteoprotegerin ligand (OPG-L) production by osteoblastic cells. By contrast, activated T-cells, by virtue of direct production and expression of OPG-L, can directly promote osteoclast differentiation. OPG-L appears to be predominantly expressed on Th1-type cells. The direct and indirect T-cell involvement in periodontal bone resorption appears to be dependent on the degree of Th1-type T-cell recruitment into inflamed gingival tissues. This T-cell recruitment is regulated by adhesion molecules and chemokines/chemokine receptors. The adhesion molecules involved include alpha4 and alpha6 integrins, LFA-1, and ICAM-1. The Th1-type T-cells preferentially express CCR5 and CXCR3, which are found prominently in diseased gingivae. By contrast, little CCR4, expressed by Th2-type T-cells, can be detected. Also, the chemokine ligands RANTES, MIP1-alpha (both CCR5), and IP-10 (CXCR3 ligand) were elevated in inflamed periodontal tissues. The T-cell features in diseased periodontal tissues can be compared with those in rheumatoid arthritis, wherein bone resorption often attributed to Th1-type T-cell involvement has also been demonstrated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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