Periodontitis is associated with aggravation of prediabetes in Zucker fatty rats

J Periodontol. 2007 Mar;78(3):559-65. doi: 10.1902/jop.2007.060358.


Background: Prediabetes is part of the natural history of type 2 diabetes. Few human studies have addressed the relationship between periodontitis and prediabetes. The Zucker fatty rat (ZFR) is a known model of prediabetes, characterized by hyperinsulinemia, dyslipidemia, and moderate hypertension. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether periodontitis affects the prediabetic state of ZFRs.

Methods: Male adult ZFRs (fa/fa; N = 24) and their lean littermates (+/fa; N = 24) were studied. Periodontitis was induced with ligatures in half of the ZFRs and lean rats, whereas the other half served as controls. After 4 weeks, body weight, food intake, glucose tolerance, insulin resistance, free fatty acids, cytokines, and alveolar bone loss were recorded.

Results: ZFRs with periodontitis presented increased glucose intolerance (P = 0.03) and a slight increase in fasting glucose from initial to final evaluation, as detected through paired analysis (P = 0.03). Among lean rats, those with periodontitis presented higher final glucose intolerance than those without periodontitis (P = 0.01). Furthermore, periodontitis in lean rats was associated with increased fasting glucose, insulin, and insulin resistance, as evaluated through paired analysis (P = 0.003, P = 0.008, and P = 0.001, respectively). Regarding alveolar bone analysis, ZFRs with periodontitis demonstrated significantly more bone loss compared to lean rats with periodontitis (P <0.001).

Conclusions: Prediabetes worsened periodontitis, and periodontitis, in turn, was associated with deterioration of glucose metabolism in ZFRs, suggesting a progress toward diabetes. Furthermore, periodontitis also affected glucose regulation in lean rats.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alveolar Bone Loss / complications
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Body Weight
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / etiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology*
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / blood
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Ligation
  • Male
  • Periodontitis / complications*
  • Prediabetic State / complications*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Zucker
  • Statistics, Nonparametric


  • Cytokines
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Glucose