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Interleukin-17-producing T cells and interleukin-17 mRNA expression in periodontitis and long-standing gingivitis lesions

Journal article
Authors Sara Thorbert-Mros
Lena Larsson
Josephine Kalm
Tord Berglundh
Published in Journal of Periodontology
Volume 90
Issue 5
Pages 516-521
ISSN 0022-3492
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Odontology
Pages 516-521
Language en
Keywords biopsy, human, IL-17, immunohistochemistry, periodontitis, RT-PCR, T-cell, porphyromonas-gingivalis, prevalence, adults
Subject categories Dentistry


Background T helper17 cells (Th17) are key targets in the evaluation of differences between "destructive" and "non-destructive" periodontal lesions. The aim of the present study was to analyze the density of interleukin-17 (IL-17) producing T cells and IL-17 mRNA expression in lesions representing severe periodontitis and longstanding gingivitis. Methods Two groups of patients were recruited. The gingivitis group consisted of 28 patients, 41-70 years old, with evident signs of gingival inflammation but no attachment loss. The periodontitis group consisted of 36 patients, 33-67 years of age. A gingival biopsy was obtained from one selected diseased site from each patient and prepared for immunohistochemical and reverse transcription, quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) analysis. Results Although the density of CD3 positive cells (T cells) did not differ between the two types of lesions, the total number and density of cells positive for CD3+CD161 (IL-17-producing T-cells) were larger in periodontitis than in long-standing gingivitis lesions. About 30% of CD3-cells in periodontitis lesions were also positive for CD161. The corresponding figure for gingivitis samples was 15%. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) analysis revealed that differences between periodontitis and gingivitis samples remained after adjusting for smoking, age, and gender. In addition, males had larger proportions of IL-17 producing T cells than females in both groups. The IL-17 mRNA expression was higher in periodontitis than in gingivitis samples. Conclusion It is suggested that IL-17 producing T cells represent a significant feature in the detection of differences between destructive and non-destructive lesions.

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