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Pharmacol Res. 2011 Dec;64(6):573-9. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2011.06.023. Epub 2011 Jul 13.

Non-antibacterial tetracyclines modulate mediators of periodontitis and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease: a mechanistic link between local and systemic inflammation.

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Department of General Dentistry, School of Dental Medicine, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794, United States.


Periodontitis, one of the most common chronic inflammatory diseases afflicting man, is increasingly being recognized as a risk factor for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). Non-antimicrobial tetracyclines are known to have inhibitory effects on inflammatory mediators and effector molecules, including cytokines and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), associated with both diseases. In this paper, we discuss the evidence that doxycycline and related non-antibiotic chemically modified tetracyclines (e.g., CMT-3) can effectively reduce cytokine (TNF-α, IL-6, and MCP-1) production by human mononuclear inflammatory cells when stimulated either by endotoxin (LPS) or by a complex of C-reactive protein/oxidized LDL cholesterol relevant to the pathogenesis of periodontal disease and ASCVD, respectively. This inhibition by tetracycline compounds appears to be mediated at least in part by a suppression of the phosphorylation/activation of the NFκB cell signaling pathway. We are currently conducting clinical trials on patients who exhibit both diseases, and our preliminary data suggest that virtually all acute coronary syndrome (ACS) patients exhibit moderate-to-severe periodontitis, a higher incidence of this oral inflammatory disease than that seen in the population at large. In other studies, a non-antimicrobial formulation of doxycycline (SDD) has been found to dramatically reduce hsCRP, IL-6 and MMP-9 levels in plasma of ACS patients, and SDD has also been found to significantly increase serum levels of both cardio-protective HDL cholesterol and its core molecule apolipoprotein A-I in ASCVD-vulnerable patients with periodontitis. Our current research suggests that one mechanism involved may be the ability of SDD to inhibit MMP-mediated HDL loss by protecting apolipoprotein A-I from proteinase attack. These pleiotropic mechanisms of non-antimicrobial tetracyclines provide significant therapeutic potential to treat chronic inflammatory diseases including both periodontitis and ASCVD.

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