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J Dent Res. 2010 Jun;89(6):631-6. doi: 10.1177/0022034510364491. Epub 2010 Apr 6.

The antimicrobial peptide DEFB1 is associated with caries.

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Department of Periodontics and Preventive Dentistry, School of Dental Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA.


Genetics is an important component in the determination of individual susceptibility to caries and periodontal diseases. Since beta defensin 1 (DEFB1) localizes in the oral cavity, we tested if variation in DEFB1 is associated with caries and periodontitis. We analyzed 3 single-nucleotide polymorphisms in DEFB1 in DNA samples from unrelated individuals. Carrying a copy of the variant allele of the DEFB1 marker rs11362 (G-20A) increased the DMFT and DMFS scores more than five-fold. Also, carrying a copy of the variant allele of the DEFB1 marker rs179946 (G-52A) correlated with low DMFT scores. We found a high-caries-experience haplotype (GCA), which increased DMFT scores two-fold, and a low- caries-experience haplotype (ACG), which decreased DMFT scores two-fold, in the DEFB1 promoter. No association between DEFB1 genetic markers and periodontal disease was found. Our results suggest that functional polymorphisms of DEFB1 are potential markers for caries.

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