Periodontal disease susceptible matrilines in the Cayo Santiago Macaca mulatta macaques

Jeffrey L. Ebersole, Luis Orraca, Terry B. Kensler, Janis Gonzalez-Martinez, Elisabeth Maldonado, Octavio A. Gonzalez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objective and Background: The expression of periodontitis, including age of onset, extent, and severity is considered to represent an interaction of the individual's oral microbiome and host response to the microbial challenge that is modified by both genetics and environmental factors. The aim of this study was to determine the distribution of periodontitis in a population of nonhuman primates, to document features of familial distribution that could reflect heritability and transmission of microbes with enhanced virulence. Material and Methods: This report presents our findings from evaluation of periodontal disease bone defects in skulls from 569 animals (5-31 years of age) derived from the skeletons of the rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) of Cayo Santiago derived from eight matrilines over 6-9 generations. The distance from the base of alveolar bone to the cemento-enamel junction on 1 st /2 nd premolars and 1 st /2 nd molars from all four quadrants was evaluated as a measure of periodontal disease. Additionally, we documented the presence of periodontitis in 79 living descendants within these matrilines. Results: The results demonstrated an increased extent and severity of periodontitis with aging across all matrilines. Extensive heterogeneity in disease expression was observed among the animals and this was linked to specific periodontitis susceptible matrilines. Moreover, we identified some matrilines in which the members appeared to show some resistance to more severe disease, even with aging. Conclusion: Linking these disease variations to multigenerational matriarchal family units supported familial susceptibility of periodontitis. This familial disease relationship was reinforced by the distribution of naturally-occurring periodontitis in the living descendants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-142
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Periodontal Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd


  • familial risk
  • nonhuman primates
  • periodontitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Periodontics


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