The purpose of this study was to determine the role of saliva-derived biomarkers and periodontal pathogens during periodontal disease progression (PDP). One hundred human participants were recruited into a 12-month investigation. They were seen bi-monthly for saliva and clinical measures and bi-annually for subtraction radiography, serum and plaque biofilm assessments. Saliva and serum were analyzed with protein arrays for 14 pro-inflammatory and bone turnover markers, while qPCR was used for detection of biofilm. A hierarchical clustering algorithm was used to group study participants based on clinical, microbiological, salivary/serum biomarkers, and PDP. Eighty-three individuals completed the six-month monitoring phase, with 39 [corrected] exhibiting PDP, while 44 [corrected] demonstrated stability. Participants assembled into three clusters based on periodontal pathogens, serum and salivary biomarkers. Cluster 1 members displayed high salivary biomarkers and biofilm; 71% [corrected] of these individuals were undergoing PDP. Cluster 2 members displayed low biofilm and biomarker levels; 76% [corrected] of these individuals were stable. Cluster 3 members were not discriminated by PDP status; however, cluster stratification followed groups 1 and 2 based on thresholds of salivary biomarkers and biofilm pathogens. The association of cluster membership to PDP was highly significant (p < 0.0007). [corrected] The use of salivary and biofilm biomarkers offers potential for the identification of PDP or stability (ClinicalTrials.gov number, CT00277745).
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00277745.