Sex effects on gingival transcriptomic patterns during initiation, progression, and resolution of periodontitis

Jeffrey L. Ebersole, Sreenatha S. Kirakodu, Linh M. Nguyen, Octavio A. Gonzalez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: The prevalence and severity of periodontitis demonstrates altered population distribution with age, sex, and race and ethnicity. While males exhibit greater frequency of disease, particularly with aging, the underlying basis for this observation remains obscure. Objective: This study used a nonhuman primate (Macaca mulatta) model of experimental ligature-induced periodontitis in adult animals to evaluate gingival transcriptomic differences stratified based upon sex of the animal. Methods: The 18 animals represented humans ages 40–80 years, with gingival tissue samples obtained at baseline, 0.5 months (initiation), 1 and 3 months (progression), and at 5 months that were 60 days after ligature removal for clinical disease resolution. Microarray analysis was used to quantify gene expression profiles in the gingival tissues. Results: The results demonstrated clear gene expression differences in healthy (baseline) tissues between the sexes, with elevations in females associated with immune responses and elevation in males related to tissue structural genes. With disease initiation, fewer genes differed between the sexes, while these differences were significantly increased in progressing disease and resolution, particularly in male animals. Overexpressed biological processes showed tissue structural/functional genes at initiation, with host response pathways altered during disease progression. Resolution samples generally demonstrated biological processes of cellular metabolism that differed from baseline healthy samples. Conclusion: The transcriptomic findings support sex as a biological variable in periodontitis using a nonhuman primate model of experimental periodontitis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1018-1031
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Periodontology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 American Academy of Periodontology.


  • aging
  • periodontitis
  • rhesus monkey
  • sex
  • transcriptome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Periodontics


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