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Crit Rev Oral Biol Med. 1992;3(1-2):31-60.

Host mediators in gingival crevicular fluid: implications for the pathogenesis of periodontal disease.

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Division of Periodontics, School of Dental and Oral Surgery, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032.


During the past few years, a considerable number of studies have examined different aspects of the host response in gingival crevicular fluid (GCF), including the relationship of specific markers to the active phases of periodontal disease. Various indicators of the acute inflammatory response (the lysosomal enzymes beta-glucuronidase and collagenase, the cytoplasmic enzyme aspartate aminotransferase, and the arachidonic acid metabolite PGE2) have been shown to be associated with clinical attachment loss in chronic adult periodontitis in man and experimental periodontitis in animal models. In contrast, the relationship of indicators of the humoral immune response in GCF to active periodontal disease is equivocal. Furthermore, a number of indicators of the cellular immune response have been identified recently in GCF (i.e., Interleukin-1 alpha, IL-1 beta, tumor necrosis factor-alpha), but their relationship to active phases of periodontal disease have not been studied. The polymorphonuclear leukocyte (PMN) is the cellular hallmark of acute inflammation. Evidence from the GCF studies suggests that hyperreactivity of these cells plays a critical role in the active phases of some forms of periodontal disease. Metabolic activation of PMN can be associated with a number of potentially destructive reactions. The major effector mechanism for tissue destruction that can be specifically identified with the PMN is the synergistic effect of the release of PMN proteases and the generation of reactive oxygen metabolites by these cells. Priming of the PMN, where the PMN response is enhanced by agents that do not initiate the response, may be an important mechanism for PMN activation in the crevicular environment; for example, cytokines such as IL-1 beta and TNF-alpha, and lipopolysaccharides released from subgingival Gram-negative bacteria, can serve this function. The hypothesis proposed here argues that in addition to the severe forms of periodontal disease that have been associated with qualitative or quantitative PMN defects, tissue destruction in the periodontum can be observed with hyperreactivity of these cells. These differing conclusions do not create a dilemma, but may represent opposite ends of a balance that is no longer in equilibrium.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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