Targeted salivary biomarkers for discrimination of periodontal health and disease(s)

Jeffrey L. Ebersole, Radhakrishnan Nagarajan, David Akers, Craig S. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


Generally, clinical parameters are used in dental practice for periodontal disease, yet several drawbacks exist with the clinical standards for addressing the needs of the public at large in determining the current status/progression of the disease, and requiring a significant amount of damage before these parameters can document disease. Therefore, a quick, easy and reliable method of assessing and monitoring periodontal disease should provide important diagnostic information that improves and speeds treatment decisions and moves the field closer to individualized point-of-care diagnostics. Objective: This report provides results for a saliva-based diagnostic approach for periodontal health and disease based upon the abundance of salivary analytes coincident with disease, and the significant progress already made in the identification of discriminatory salivary biomarkers of periodontitis. Methods: We evaluated biomarkers representing various phases of periodontitis initiation and progression (IL-1β, IL-6, MMP-8, MIP-1α) in whole saliva from 209 subjects categorized with periodontal health, gingivitis, and periodontitis. Results: Evaluation of the salivary analytes demonstrated utility for individual biomarkers to differentiate periodontitis from health. Inclusion of gingivitis patients into the analyses provided a more robust basis to estimate the value of each of these analytes. Various clinical and statistical approaches showed that pairs or panels of the analytes were able to increase the sensitivity and specificity for the identification of disease. Conclusions: Salivary concentrations of IL-1β, IL-6, MMP-8, MIP-1α alone and in combination are able to distinguish health from gingivitis and periodontitis. The data clearly demonstrated a heterogeneity in response profiles of these analytes that supports the need for refinement of the standard clinical classifications if we are to move toward precision/personalized dentistry for the twenty-first century.

Original languageEnglish
Article number62
JournalFrontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology
Issue numberAUG
StatePublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Ebersole, Nagarajan, Akers and Miller.


  • Cytokines
  • MMP-8
  • Periodontitis
  • Personalized medicine
  • Saliva

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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