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Heritability of periodontal bone loss in mice

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Periodontitis is an inflammatory disease of the periodontal tissues that compromises tooth support and can lead to tooth loss. Although bacterial biofilm is central in disease pathogenesis, the host response plays an important role in the progression and severity of periodontitis. Indeed, clinical genetic studies indicate that periodontitis is 50% heritable. In this study, we hypothesized that lipopolysaccharide (LPS) injections lead to a strain-dependent periodontal bone loss pattern.

Material and methods

We utilized five inbred mouse strains that derive the recombinant strains of the hybrid mouse diversity panel. Mice received Porphyromonas gingivalis-LPS injections for 6 wk.

Results and conclusion

Micro-computed tomography analysis demonstrated a statistically significant strain-dependent bone loss. The most susceptible strain, C57BL/6J, had a fivefold higher LPS-induced bone loss compared to the most resistant strain, A/J. More importantly, periodontal bone loss revealed 49% heritability, which closely mimics periodontitis heritability for patients. To evaluate further the functional differences that underlie periodontal bone loss, osteoclast numbers of C57BL/6J and A/J mice were measured in vivo and in vitro. In vitro analysis of osteoclastogenic potential showed a higher number of osteoclasts in C57BL/6J compared to A/J mice. In vivo LPS injections statistically significantly increased osteoclast numbers in both groups. Importantly, the number of osteoclasts was higher in C57BL/6J vs. A/J mice. These data support a significant role of the genetic framework in LPS-induced periodontal bone loss and the feasibility of utilizing the hybrid mouse diversity panel to determine the genetic factors that affect periodontal bone loss. Expanding these studies will contribute in predicting patients genetically predisposed to periodontitis and in identifying the biological basis of disease susceptibility.

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