Periondontitis Associated with Inflammation, Free Radical Damage, and Shorter Telomeres

Byron's Comments:

Low grade infections pose an ongoing challenge to telomere health.

Study Title:

Oxidative stress, chronic inflammation, and telomere length in patients with periodontitis.

Study Abstract:

The aim of this study was to determine leukocyte telomere length (LTL) in individuals with periodontitis and controls, exploring its relationship with systemic inflammation and oxidative stress. Five hundred sixty-three participants were recruited for this case-control study: 356 subjects with and 207 subjects without periodontitis. LTL was measured by a qPCR technique from leukocytes’ DNA. Global measures of oxidative stress (reactive oxygen metabolites) and biological antioxidant potential in plasma were performed together with high-sensitivity assays for C-reactive protein (CRP). Leukocyte counts and lipid profiles were performed using standard biochemistry. Cases had higher levels of CRP (2.1±3.7mg/L vs 1.3±5.4mg/L, P<0.001) and reactive oxygen metabolites (378.1±121.1 U Carr vs 277.4±108.6 U Carr, P<0.001) compared to controls. Overall, cases had shorter LTL with respect to controls (1.23±0.42 vs 1.12±0.31T/S ratio, P=0.006), independent of age, gender, ethnicity, and smoking habit. When divided by subgroup of periodontal diagnosis (chronic, n=285; aggressive, n=71), only chronic cases displayed shorter LTL (P=0.01). LTL was negatively correlated with age (P=0.001; R=-0.2), oxidative stress (P=0.008; R=-0.2), and severity of periodontitis (P=0.003; R=-0.2) in both the whole population and the subgroups (cases and controls). We conclude that shorter telomere lengths are associated with a diagnosis of periodontitis and their measures correlate with the oxidative stress and severity of disease.

Study Information:

Masi S, Salpea KD, Li K, Parkar M, Nibali L, Donos N, Patel K, Taddei S, Deanfield JE, D'Aiuto F, Humphries SE Oxidative stress, chronic inflammation, and telomere length in patients with periodontitis. Free Radic Biol Med. 2011 March 15;50(6):730-5
Vascular Physiology Unit, Institute of Child Health, University College London, London, UK.

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