Can salivary activity predict periodontal breakdown in A. actinomycetemcomitans infected adolescents?

Daniel H. Fine, David Furgang, Marie McKiernan, Michelle Rubin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objective: While Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans (Aa) is highly associated with localised aggressive periodontitis (LAP) many Aa-carriers do not develop LAP. This study was designed to determine whether specific salivary factors could distinguish between subjects who have Aa initially and remain healthy (H/AA) as compared to those who develop LAP (LAP/AA). Design: H/AA subjects and healthy controls with no Aa (H) were enrolled in a longitudinal cohort study to investigate initiation of bone loss (LAP) over 3 years. After detection of LAP, stored saliva from 10 H, 10 H/AA, and 10 LAP/AA subjects was thawed, processed, and tested for (1) lactoferrin (Lf) concentration and iron levels; (2) agglutination of Aa; (3) killing of Gram-positive bacteria. Results: LAP/AA saliva levels of Lf iron were low prior to and after bone loss (3.6 + 1.7 ng Fe/μg) (LAP/AA vs. H and H/AA p ≤ 0.01). Saliva from H/AA subjects caused Aa to agglutinate significantly more than H or LAP/AA saliva (p ≤ 0.01). LAP/AA saliva killed Streptococcus mutans, Streptococcus sanguis and Lactobacillus in vitro by >83%. Saliva from H individuals killed these bacteria by <3.3% (LAP/AA vs. H; p ≤ 0.01). H/AA killing was intermediate. Conclusion: LAP/AA saliva showed: low levels of Lf iron, minimal Aa agglutinating activity, and high killing activity against Gram-positive bacteria. Aa-positive healthy saliva (H/AA) showed: higher levels of Lf iron, maximal Aa agglutinating activity, and moderate killing of Gram-positive bacteria. A salivary activity profile can distinguish between subjects who are Aa-positive and remain healthy from those who develop LAP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)611-620
Number of pages10
JournalArchives of Oral Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Dentistry(all)
  • Cell Biology


  • Agglutination
  • Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans
  • Killing gram-positive bacteria
  • Lactoferrin
  • Localised aggressive periodontitis
  • Microbiology
  • Periodontics
  • Salivary activity


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