Journal of dental research

Effect of Aging on Periodontal Inflammation, Microbial Colonization, and Disease Susceptibility.

PMID 26762510


Periodontitis is a chronic inflammatory disease induced by a biofilm that forms on the tooth surface. Increased periodontal disease is associated with aging. We investigated the effect of aging on challenge by oral pathogens, examining the host response, colonization, and osteoclast numbers in aged versus young mice. We also compared the results with mice with lineage-specific deletion of the transcription factor FOXO1, which reduces dendritic cell (DC) function. Periodontitis was induced by oral inoculation of Porphyromonas gingivalis and Fusobacterium nucleatum in young (4 to 5 mo) and aged (14 to 15 mo) mice. Aged mice as well as mice with reduced DC function had decreased numbers of DCs in lymph nodes, indicative of a diminished host response. In vitro studies suggest that reduced DC numbers in lymph nodes of aged mice may involve the effect of advanced glycation end products on DC migration. Surprisingly, aged mice but not mice with genetically altered DC function had greater production of antibody to P. gingivalis, greater IL-12 expression, and more plasma cells in lymph nodes following oral inoculation as compared with young mice. The greater adaptive immune response in aged versus young mice was linked to enhanced levels of P. gingivalis and reduced bacterial diversity. Thus, reduced bacterial diversity in aged mice may contribute to increased P. gingivalis colonization following inoculation and increased periodontal disease susceptibility, reflected by higher TNF levels and osteoclast numbers in the periodontium of aged versus young mice.

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