Barnes, V M, et al., Metabolomics Reveals Elevated Macromolecular Degradation in Periodontal Disease. J Dent Res, 2011. 90(11): 1293-7.


Periodontitis is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by tissue destruction. In the diseased oral environment, saliva has primarily been considered to act as a protectant by lubricating the tissue, mineralizing the bones, neutralizing the pH, and combating microbes. To understand the metabolic role that saliva plays in the diseased state, we performed untargeted metabolomic profiling of saliva from healthy and periodontitic individuals. Several classes of biochemicals, including dipeptide, amino acid, carbohydrate, lipids, and nucleotide metabolites, were altered, consistent with increased macromolecular degradation of proteins, triacylglycerol, glycerolphospholipids, polysaccharides, and polynucleotides in the individuals with periodontal disease. These changes partially reflected the enhanced host-bacterial interactions in the diseased state as supported by increased levels of bacterially modified amino acids and creatine metabolite. More importantly, the increased lipase, protease, and glycosidase activities associated with periodontitis generated a more favorable energy environment for oral bacteria, potentially exacerbating the disease state.

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