Dynamic changes in the subgingival microbiome and their potential for diagnosis and prognosis of periodontitis.

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MBio 2015 Feb 17; 6(1):e01926-14.





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UNLABELLED: The human microbiome influences and reflects the health or disease state of the host. Periodontitis, a disease affecting about half of American adults, is associated with alterations in the subgingival microbiome of individual tooth sites. Although it can be treated, the disease can reoccur and may progress without symptoms. Without prognostic markers, follow-up examinations are required to assess reoccurrence and disease progression and to determine the need for additional treatments. To better identify and predict the disease progression, we aim to determine whether the subgingival microbiome can serve as a diagnosis and prognosis indicator. Using metagenomic shotgun sequencing, we characterized the dynamic changes in the subgingival microbiome in periodontitis patients before and after treatment at the same tooth sites. At the taxonomic composition level, the periodontitis-associated microorganisms were significantly shifted from highly correlated in the diseased state to poorly correlated after treatment, suggesting that coordinated interactions among the pathogenic microorganisms are essential to disease pathogenesis. At the functional level, we identified disease-associated pathways that were significantly altered in relative abundance in the two states. Furthermore, using the subgingival microbiome profile, we were able to classify the samples to their clinical states with an accuracy of 81.1%. Follow-up clinical examination of the sampled sites supported the predictive power of the microbiome profile on disease progression. Our study revealed the dynamic changes in the subgingival microbiome contributing to periodontitis and suggested potential clinical applications of monitoring the subgingival microbiome as an indicator in disease diagnosis and prognosis.

IMPORTANCE: Periodontitis is a common oral disease. Although it can be treated, the disease may reoccur without obvious symptoms. Current clinical examination parameters are useful in disease diagnosis but cannot adequately predict the outcome of individual tooth sites after treatment. A link between the subgingival microbiota and periodontitis was identified previously; however, it remains to be investigated whether the microbiome can serve as a diagnostic and prognostic indicator. In this study, for the first time, we characterized the subgingival microbiome of individual tooth sites before and after treatment using a large-scale metagenomic analysis. Our longitudinal study revealed changes in the microbiota in taxonomic composition, cooccurrence of subgingival microorganisms, and functional composition. Using the microbiome profiles, we were able to classify the clinical states of subgingival plaque samples with a high accuracy. Follow-up clinical examination of sampled sites indicates that the subgingival microbiome profile shows promise for the development of diagnostic and prognostic tools. MBio 2015 Feb 17; 6(1):e01926-14.