Experimental Bone Turnover
The periodontium (gum, mucosa and underlying bone) provides a unique in vivo opportunity to study the sequence of inflammatory cell cytokine production and immunoregulation following tooth movement, bacterial insult, or wounding. Movement of the tooth within the periodontal ligament space, introduction of bacterial products, or bone regenerative procedures result in an influx of inflammatory cells leading to increased local levels of cytokines and markers of bone turnover. These products can be sampled from specific microenvironments with special devices and analyzed (ELISA). Such approaches allow identification of protocols where local or systemic drug interventions would be most effective.
Chronic bacterial insult, modulated by genetic and other environmental factors, is the hallmark of inflammatory periodontal disease with alveolar bone destruction. This disease also provides an accessible source of inflammatory cells and products to study the nature of chronic inflammation. BRG investigators are probing cytokine/inflammatory mediator profiles and mechanisms of production in gingival exudate and exudate from specific microenvironments, and in cell extraction/culture. By understanding the association of cytokines with periodontal inflammation and bone destruction, the use of contradictory cytokines or cytokine antagonists will be possible for alveolar bone loss prevention and regeneration. Anti-inflammatory therapy, inhibition of host-derived tissue-destructive matrix metalloproteinases, and local delivery of antibiotics also are being studied.