Cytokine levels in gingival crevicular fluid of erupting primary teeth correlated with systemic disturbances accompanying teething

Pediatr Dent. Sep-Oct 2003;25(5):441-8.


Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate whether there are increased levels of the inflammatory cytokines IL-1beta, IL-8, and TNFalpha in the gingival crevicular fluid (GCF) of erupting primary teeth. This increase could explain such clinical manifestations as fever, diarrhea, increased crying, and sleeping and eating disturbances that occur at this time.

Methods: Sixteen healthy children aged 5 to 14 months (mean=9.8 months) were examined twice a week over 5 months. Gingival crevicular fluid samples were taken from erupting teeth. As a control, GCF was collected from the same teeth 1 month later. Cytokine production was measured by ELISA. Signs and clinical symptoms were listed. Pearson correlation coefficients were used in the comparisons described below. A paired t test was used to analyze the same variable at different times.

Results: Fifty teeth of the 16 children were studied. GCF samples were collected from 21 of these teeth. Statistically significant differences (P<.05) were found with regard to the occurrence of fever, behavioral problems, and coughing during the teething period and the control period. During the control period, 72% of the children did not exhibit any clinical manifestations, whereas during the teething period only 22% of the children did not exhibit any clinical manifestations. The study revealed high levels of inflammatory cytokines during the teething period, with a statistically significant difference in TNFalpha levels (P<.05) between the teething period and the control period. Correlations were found between cytokine levels and some of the clinical symptoms of teething: IL-1beta and TNFalpha were correlated with fever and sleep disturbances; IL-beta and IL-8 were correlated with gastrointestinal disturbances; IL-1beta was correlated with appetite disturbances.

Conclusions: Cytonkines appear in the GCF of erupting prmary teeth. The cytokine levels are correlated to some symptoms of teething.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Cough / etiology
  • Crying / physiology
  • Diarrhea, Infantile / etiology
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / etiology
  • Female
  • Fever / etiology
  • Gingival Crevicular Fluid / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Inflammation Mediators / analysis
  • Interleukin-1 / analysis*
  • Interleukin-8 / analysis*
  • Male
  • Matched-Pair Analysis
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / etiology
  • Tooth Eruption / immunology*
  • Tooth, Deciduous / physiology*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / analysis*


  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Interleukin-1
  • Interleukin-8
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha