Plasma vitamin D and cytokines in periodontal disease and postmenopausal osteoporosis

J Periodontal Res. 2011 Feb;46(1):97-104. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0765.2010.01317.x. Epub 2010 Aug 20.


Background and objective: Osteoporosis and periodontal disease are chronic diseases, in the pathogenesis of which plasma osteoprotogerin (OPG) and RANKL are important. The study aimed to investigate the relationship between periodontal disease and plasma cytokines, vitamin D and bone mineral density in postmenopausal women with and without osteoporosis.

Material and methods: One hundred and eighty-five postmenopausal women with osteoporosis and 185 age- and sex-matched control subjects were recruited. Periodontal disease was subdivided into active or past periodontal disease. Osteoprotegerin, RANKL, 25-hydroxyvitamin D₃ (25OHD), biochemical markers of bone turnover (serum C-terminal telopeptide, CTX), anthropometry and bone mineral density were measured.

Results: A significantly higher proportion of the women with osteoporosis had active or past periodontal disease or both compared with control subjects (87.6 vs. 37.8%, p < 0.001). Plasma 25OHD was significantly lower (p < 0.001) and RANKL and OPG significantly higher in the women with osteoporosis than in control subjects (p < 0.0001). RANKL, OPG and CTX were significantly higher in women with active periodontal disease than in those without (p < 0.001), as were OPG and CTX in past periodontal disease (p < 0.001). In active and past periodontal disease, 25OHD was significantly lower (p < 0.001). Multiple logistic regression analysis showed that periodontal disease was best predicted by RANKL, 25OHD, C-terminal telopeptide and weight, r² = 10.4%.

Conclusion: Periodontal disease is more common in women with osteoporosis and is associated with lower vitamin D and higher concentrations of RANKL and OPG. Raised cytokines may provide the underlying mechanism that links these two conditions.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Bone Density
  • Bone Remodeling
  • Calcifediol / blood
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Collagen Type I / blood
  • Cytokines / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / chemistry
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / blood*
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / complications
  • Osteoprotegerin / blood
  • Peptides / blood
  • Periodontal Diseases / blood*
  • Periodontal Diseases / complications
  • RANK Ligand / blood
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Collagen Type I
  • Cytokines
  • Osteoprotegerin
  • Peptides
  • RANK Ligand
  • collagen type I trimeric cross-linked peptide
  • Calcifediol