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J Clin Periodontol. 1997 Jan;24(1):72-7.

The interleukin-1 genotype as a severity factor in adult periodontal disease.

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  • 1Medical Science Systems, Inc., San Antonio, TX 78216, USA.


Although specific bacteria, dental plaque, and age are associated with periodontal disease, there are currently no reliable predictors of periodontitis severity. Studies in twins have suggested a genetic contribution to the pathogenesis of periodontitis, but previous attempts to identify genetic markers have been unsuccessful. The pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin-1 (IL-1) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha) are key regulators of the host responses to microbial infection. IL-1 is also a major modulator of extracellular matrix catabolism and bone resorption. We report a specific genotype of the polymorphic IL-1 gene cluster that was associated with severity of periodontitis in non-smokers, and distinguished individuals with severe periodontitis from those with mild disease (odds ratio 18.9 for ages 40-60 years). Functionally, the specific periodontitis-associated IL-1 genotype comprises a variant in the IL-1B gene that is associated with high levels of IL-1 production. In smokers severe disease was not correlated with genotype. In this study, 86.0% of the severe periodontitis patients were accounted for by either smoking or the IL-1 genotype. This study demonstrates that specific genetic markers, that have been associated with increased IL-1 production, are a strong indicator of susceptibility to severe periodontitis in adults.

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