Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Genetic signature reveals new way to classify gum disease

Date:
March 21, 2014
Source:
Columbia University Medical Center
Summary:
A new system for classifying periodontal disease has been devised based on the genetic signature of affected tissue, rather than on clinical signs and symptoms. The new classification system, the first of its kind, may allow for earlier detection and more individualized treatment of severe periodontitis, before loss of teeth and supportive bone occurs.

By looking at the expression of thousands of genes in gum tissue, researchers can now classify most cases of periodontitis into one of two clusters. More severe cases of the disease are represented under the red bar, less severe cases under the blue bar. The findings may allow for earlier diagnosis and more personalized treatment of severe gum disease, before irreversible bone loss has occurred.
Credit: Panos N. Papapanou, D.D.S., Ph.D./Columbia University College of Dental Medicine

Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) have devised a new system for classifying periodontal disease based on the genetic signature of affected tissue, rather than on clinical signs and symptoms. The new classification system, the first of its kind, may allow for earlier detection and more individualized treatment of severe periodontitis, before loss of teeth and supportive bone occurs. The findings were published recently in the online edition of the Journal of Dental Research.

Currently, periodontal disease is classified as either "chronic" or "aggressive," based on clinical signs and symptoms, such as severity of gum swelling and extent of bone loss. "However, there is much overlap between the two classes," said study leader Panos N. Papapanou, DDS, PhD, professor and chair of oral and diagnostic sciences at the College of Dental Medicine at CUMC. "Many patients with severe symptoms can be effectively treated, while others with seemingly less severe infection may continue to lose support around their teeth even after therapy. Basically, we don't know whether a periodontal infection is truly aggressive until severe, irreversible damage has occurred."

Looking for a better way to classify periodontitis, Dr. Papapanou turned to cancer as a model. In recent years, cancer biologists have found that, in some cancers, clues to a tumor's aggressiveness and responsiveness to treatment can be found in its genetic signature. To determine if similar patterns could be found in periodontal disease, the CUMC team performed genome-wide expression analyses of diseased gingival (gum) tissue taken from 120 patients with either chronic or aggressive periodontitis. The test group included both males and females ranging in age from 11 to 76 years.

The researchers found that, based on their gene expression signatures, the patients fell into two distinct clusters. "The clusters did not align with the currently accepted periodontitis classification," said Dr. Papapanou. However, the two clusters did differ with respect to the extent and severity of periodontitis, with significantly more serious disease in Cluster 2. The study also found higher levels of infection by known oral pathogens, as well as a higher percentage of males, in Cluster 2 than in Cluster 1, in keeping with the well-established observation that severe periodontitis is more common in men than in women.

"Our data suggest that molecular profiling of gingival tissues can indeed form the basis for the development of an alternative, pathobiology-based classification of periodontitis that correlates well with the clinical presentation of the disease," said Dr. Papapanou.

The researchers' next goal is to conduct a prospective study to validate the new classification system's ability to predict disease outcome. The team also hopes to find simple surrogate biomarkers for the two clusters, as it would be impractical to perform genome-wide testing on every patient.

The new system could offer huge advantages for classifying people with different types of periodontitis. "If a patient is found to be highly susceptible to severe periodontitis, we would be justified in using aggressive therapies, even though that person may have subclinical disease," said Dr. Papapanou. "Now, we wait years to make this determination, and by then, significant damage to the tooth-supporting structures may have occurred."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Columbia University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. Kebschull, R. T. Demmer, B. Grun, P. Guarnieri, P. Pavlidis, P. N. Papapanou. Gingival Tissue Transcriptomes Identify Distinct Periodontitis Phenotypes. Journal of Dental Research, 2014; DOI: 10.1177/0022034514527288

Cite This Page:

Columbia University Medical Center. "Genetic signature reveals new way to classify gum disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140321164603.htm>.
Columbia University Medical Center. (2014, March 21). Genetic signature reveals new way to classify gum disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140321164603.htm
Columbia University Medical Center. "Genetic signature reveals new way to classify gum disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140321164603.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins