Patient-specific variations in biomarkers across gingivitis and periodontitis

Radhakrishnan Nagarajan, Craig S. Miller, Dolph Dawson, Mohanad Al-Sabbagh, Jeffrey L. Ebersole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


This study investigates the use of saliva, as an emerging diagnostic fluid in conjunction with classification techniques to discern biological heterogeneity in clinically labelled gingivitis and periodontitis subjects (80 subjects; 40/group) A battery of classification techniques were investigated as traditional single classifier systems as well as within a novel selective voting ensemble classification approach (SVA) framework. Unlike traditional single classifiers, SVA is shown to reveal patient-specific variations within disease groups, which may be important for identifying proclivity to disease progression or disease stability. Salivary expression profiles of IL-1s, IL-6, MMP-8, and MIP-1α from 80 patients were analyzed using four classification algorithms (LDA: Linear Discriminant Analysis [LDA], Quadratic Discriminant Analysis [QDA], Naive Bayes Classifier [NBC] and Support Vector Machines [SVM]) as traditional single classifiers and within the SVA framework (SVA-LDA, SVA-QDA, SVA-NB and SVA-SVM). Our findings demonstrate that performance measures (sensitivity, specificity and accuracy) of traditional classification as single classifier were comparable to that of the SVA counterparts using clinical labels of the samples as ground truth. However, unlike traditional single classifier approaches, the normalized ensemble vote-counts fromSVA revealed varying proclivity of the subjects for each of the disease groups.More importantly, the SVA identified a subset of gingivitis and periodontitis samples that demonstrated a biological proclivity commensurate with the other clinical group. This subset was confirmed across SVA-LDA, SVA-QDA, SVANB and SVA-SVM. Heatmap visualization of their ensemble sets revealed lack of consensus between these subsets and the rest of the samples within the respective disease groups indicating the unique nature of the patients in these subsets.While the source of variation is not known, the results presented clearly elucidate the need for novel approaches that accommodate inherent heterogeneity and personalized variations within disease groups in diagnostic characterization. The proposed approach falls within the scope of P4medicine (predictive, preventive, personalized, and participatory) with the ability to identify unique patient profiles that may predict specific disease trajectories and targeted diseasemanagement.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0136792
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 25 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Nagarajan et al.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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