MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are critical regulators of the host immune and inflammatory response against bacterial pathogens. In a recent review, researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago discuss target genes, target gene functions, the potential regulatory role of miRNAs in periodontal tissues, and the potential role of miRNAs as biomarkers and therapeutics.

In periodontal disease, miRNAs exert control over all aspects of innate and adaptive immunity, including the functions of neutrophils, macrophages, dendritic cells and T and B cells. Previous human studies have highlighted some key miRNAs that are dysregulated in periodontitis patients. In the present study, researchers mapped the major miRNAs that were altered in their reproducible periodontitis mouse model relative to control animals using microarray technology. The miRNAs that were upregulated as a result of periodontal disease in both human and mouse studies included miR-15a, miR-29b, miR-125a, miR-146a, miR-148/148a and miR-223, whereas miR-92 was downregulated.

The association of individual miRNAs with unique aspects of periodontal disease and their stability in gingival crevicular fluid underscores their potential as markers for periodontal disease progression or healthy restitution. Moreover, miRNA therapeutics hold great promise for the future of periodontal therapy because of their ability to modulate the immune response to infection when applied in conjunction with synthetic antagomirs and/or relatively straightforward delivery strategies.

LC Sciences

Microarray analysis of microRNA expression in periodontal progenitors from healthy individuals (Con) and animals suffering from periodontal disease (Dis). a Heat map of miRNA expression profiling. miRNAs with a significant level of upregulation or downregulation (P < 0.01) were identified using Student’s t test. b Quantitative reverse transcriptase (qRT) polymerase chain reaction verification of selected microRNAs in healthy and periodontal disease tissues. There was a significant difference in miR-21, miR-29b, let-7c and miR-451 gene expression between healthy and diseased tissues.


X Luan, X Zhou, A Naqvi, M Francis, D Foyle, S Nares et al. (2018) MicroRNAs and immunity in periodontal health and disease Int. J. of Oral Sci. doi: 10.1038/s41368-018-0025-y [article]

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