Microbial signatures of health, gingivitis, and periodontitis.

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Periodontology 2000


JGM, Dysbiosis, Gingivitis, Humans, Microbiota, Periodontitis, RNA, Ribosomal, 16S

JAX Source

Periodontol 2021 Jun; 86(1):57-78





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The subgingival crevice harbors diverse microbial communities. Shifts in the composition of these communities occur with the development of gingivitis and periodontitis, which are considered as successive stages of periodontal health deterioration. It is not clear, however, to what extent health- and gingivitis-associated microbiota are protective, or whether these communities facilitate the successive growth of periodontitis-associated taxa. To further our understanding of the dynamics of the microbial stimuli that trigger disruptions in periodontal homeostasis, we reviewed the available literature with the aim of defining specific microbial signatures associated with different stages of periodontal dysbiosis. Although several studies have evaluated the subgingival communities present in different periodontal conditions, we found limited evidence for the direct comparison of communities in health, gingivitis, and periodontitis. Therefore, we aimed to better define subgingival microbiome shifts by merging and reanalyzing, using unified bioinformatic processing strategies, publicly available 16S ribosomal RNA gene amplicon datasets of periodontal health, gingivitis, and periodontitis. Despite inherent methodological differences across studies, distinct community structures were found for health, gingivitis, and periodontitis, demonstrating the specific associations between gingival tissue status and the subgingival microbiome. Consistent with the concept that periodontal dysbiosis is the result of a process of microbial succession without replacement, more species were detected in disease than in health. However, gingivitis-associated communities were more diverse than those from subjects with periodontitis, suggesting that certain species ultimately become dominant as dysbiosis progresses. We identified the bacterial species associated with each periodontal condition and prevalent species that do not change in abundance from one state to another (core species), and we also outlined species co-occurrence patterns via network analysis. Most periodontitis-associated species were rarely detected in health but were frequently detected, albeit in low abundance, in gingivitis, which suggests that gingivitis and periodontitis are a continuum. Overall, we provide a framework of subgingival microbiome shifts, which can be used to generate hypotheses with respect to community assembly processes and the emergence of periodontal dysbiosis.

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