Objectives: During orthodontic treatment, changes in subgingival plaque colonization and tissue inflammation and remodelling have been described. This study uses a longitudinal design to examine subgingival colonization of Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans (Aa) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) activities in gingival crevicular fluid (GCF) in order to assess whether these parameters have potential as biomarkers of tissue responses to orthodontic tooth movement in humans.
Materials & methods: Twenty-one patients (ages: 11.2-22.5; mean 17.1 +/- 3.3 years) participated in the study. An upper canine from each patient undergoing treatment for distal movement served as the test tooth (DC), and its contralateral (CC) and antagonist (AC) canines were used as controls. The CC was included in the orthodontic appliance, but was not subjected to the orthodontic force; the AC was free from any orthodontic appliance. The subgingival plaque and GCF around the experimental teeth was harvested from both mesial and distal tooth sites immediately before appliance activation and on day 28. Clinical gingival condition was evaluated at the baseline and at the end of the experimental period. Aa colonization was determined by culture methods, while ALP and AST activities were evaluated spectrophotometrically.
Results: Throughout the study, the clinical conditions worsened in both the DCs and the CCs as compared with the baseline, whereas no significant differences were found between the DCs and the CCs, or between mesial and distal sites of each of these teeth on day 28. In the ACs, clinical parameters remained at baseline levels throughout the study. Similar results were found for Aa colonization, which increased significantly on day 28 in the DC and CC groups. On day 28, ALP and AST activities were significantly elevated in all sites from the DC and CC groups as compared with the ACs, where, conversely, enzymatic activities remained at the baseline levels. However, ALP activity in the DC group was significantly greater than in the CCs at mesial (tension) sites on day 28, while AST activity in the DCs was significantly elevated as compared with the CC group at the distal (compression) sites. Greater ALP activity in the DC group was observed at the tension sites compared with the compression sites on day 28.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that Aa subgingival colonization, and ALP and AST activities in GCF reflect the tissue responses that occur in the periodontium during orthodontic treatment.