ABSTRACT: Periodontitis is a chronic inflammatory disease caused by the infection of periodontopathic bacteria in dental plaque. However, an individual's susceptibility to this disease appears to be associated with multiple genetic factors, as seen in the case of leprosy. In order to gain a better understanding of the pathophysiology of periodontal disease in subjects with leprosy, we investigated the clinical features of periodontitis and the immunological responses against periodontopathic bacteria in 382 subjects with a history of leprosy and 451 age-matched control subjects. The prevalence of periodontitis and the degree of periodontal pocket depth were found to be significantly higher in leprosy patients than in age-matched controls. Furthermore, a comparison of the clinical parameters of lepromatous leprosy (L-lep) and tuberculoid leprosy (T-lep) patients showed that the probing pocket depth of L-lep patients with periodontal disease was significantly higher than that for T-lep patients. In contrast, serum IgG titers against Porphyromonas gingivalis in L-lep patients were significantly lower than in T-lep patients. These results imply that L-lep patients show more severe periodontal disease than T-lep patients or age-matched control subjects, and that low humoral immunity against P. gingivalis might be one of the genetic factors determining periodontal disease susceptibility in leprosy patients.
Japanese journal of infectious diseases. 11/2010; 63(6):427-32.