Journal of clinical periodontology

Oral fluid elastase as an indicator of periodontal health.

PMID 8636454


The study was designed to find out whether oral elastase activity could be used as a simple biochemical indicator of periodontal health. Both stimulated whole saliva and water rinse samples were collected from subjects with different degrees of adult periodontitis, gingivitis or healthy periodontium. In both sample types, elastase was mostly bound to insoluble fraction and preferred valine containing synthetic substrate, similar to neutrophil elastase. The elastase measurement required very little manipulation or time and its reproducibility was found to be good. The elastase levels were found to be negligible in edentulous subjects and usually very low in subjects with healthy periodontium. In about 85% of periodontitis cases having at least 1 deep periodontal pocket ( > or = 6 mm), clearly elevated elastases levels were detected in both the saliva and r rinse samples. In advanced periodontitis cases, the colour reaction took place in 0.5 to 2 h. In localized periodontitis cases, 2- to 18-h incubations were required for positive reaction. There was a good correlation between the elastase activity and the number of deep periodontal pockets and the average community periodontal index of the subjects. Elastase activity was not a good indicator of gingivitis. About 45% of gingivitis cases were positive with the elastase test, and the enzyme values were not significantly increased in experimental gingivitis. In a longitudinal study on advanced periodontitis cases, elastase levels dropped dramatically as a result of clinically successful therapy, close to the values of healthy subjects. The oral elastase test could serve as a valuable adjunct in periodontal screening and assessment of treatment efficacy.

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N-Succinyl-Ala-Ala-Ala-p-nitroanilide, elastase substrate