Relationship between herpesviruses and periodontal disease progression

Pinar Emecen-Huja, Robert J. Danaher, Dolphus R. Dawson, Chunmei Wang, Richard J. Kryscio, Jeffrey L. Ebersole, Craig S. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Aim: To investigate the role of Epstein–Barr virus (EBV), cytomegalovirus (CMV), and anaerobic bacteria in the progression of periodontitis. Methods: Eighty-one adults with generalized moderate to severe periodontitis were randomly assigned to: oral hygiene or scaling and root planning ± placebo or polyunsaturated fatty acids fish oil. Subgingival plaque samples collected from three healthy and three disease sites at weeks 0, 16, and 28 and from sites demonstrating disease progression were analysed for EBV, CMV, P. gingivalis (Pg), T. forsythia (Tf), and T. denticola (Td) DNA using quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Results: Cytomegalovirus was detected in 0.3% (4/1454) sites. EBV was present in 12.2% of healthy sites (89/728) and 27.6% disease sites (201/726; p <.0001), but was in low copy number. Disease progression occurred in 28.4% of participants (23/81) and developed predominantly at sites identified as diseased (75/78; 96.2%). CMV and EBV were not associated with disease progression (p =.13) regardless of treatment. In contrast, disease sites were associated with higher levels of Pg, Td, Tf, and total bacteria, and sites that exhibited disease progression were associated with an abundance of Td and Tf (p <.04). Conclusion: Disease progression was associated with Gram-negative anaerobic bacteria; not EBV or CMV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)442-450
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Periodontology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd


  • Epstein–Barr virus infections
  • cytomegalovirus
  • disease progression
  • periodontitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Periodontics


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