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J Periodontol. 1993 Aug;64(8 Suppl):819-27.

Blocking periodontal disease progression by inhibiting tissue-destructive enzymes: a potential therapeutic role for tetracyclines and their chemically-modified analogs.

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New York University College of Dentistry, Division of Basic Sciences, NY.


Tetracyclines (TCs) have wide therapeutic usage as antimicrobial agents; these drugs (e.g., minocycline, doxycycline) remain useful as adjuncts in periodontal therapy. However, TCs also have non-antimicrobial properties which appear to modulate host response. In that regard, TCs and their chemically-modified analogs (CMTs) have been shown to inhibit the activity of the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP), collagenase. The activity of this enzyme appears crucial in the destruction of the major structural protein of connective tissues, collagen. Such pathologic collagenolysis may be a common denominator in tissue destructive diseases such as rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, diabetes mellitus, bullous dermatologic diseases, corneal ulcers, and periodontitis. The mechanisms by which TCs affect and, possibly, diminish bone resorption (a key event in the pathogenesis of periodontal and other diseases) are not yet understood. However, a number of possibilities remain open for investigation including the following: TCs may 1) directly inhibit the activity of extracellular collagenase and other MMPs such as gelatinase; 2) prevent the activation of its proenzyme by scavenging reactive oxygen species generated by other cell types (e.g. PMNs, osteoclasts); 3) inhibit the secretion of other collagenolytic enzymes (i.e. lysosomal cathepsins); and 4) directly affect other aspects of osteoclast structure and function. Several recent studies have also addressed the therapeutic potential of TCs and CMTs in periodontal disease. These drugs reduced excessive gingival collagenase activity and severity of periodontal breakdown in rats infected with Porphyromonas gingivalis and in diabetic rats. Furthermore, the latter drug (CMT) was not associated with the emergence of TC-resistant microorganisms.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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