This study aimed to investigate the periodontal health of patients with established rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in relation to oral microbiota, systemic and oral inflammatory mediators, and RA disease activity. Forty patients underwent full-mouth dental/periodontal and rheumatological examination, including collection of blood, saliva, gingival crevicular fluid (GCF) and subgingival plaque. Composition of plaque and saliva microbiota were analysed using 16S rRNA sequencing and levels of inflammatory mediators by multiplex-immunoassay. The majority of the patients (75%) had moderate or severe periodontitis and the rest had no/mild periodontitis. Anti-citrullinated protein antibody (ACPA) positivity was significantly more frequent in the moderate/severe periodontitis (86%) compared to the no/mild group (50%). No significance between groups was observed for RA disease duration or activity, or type of medication. Levels of sCD30/TNFRSF8, IFN-α2, IL-19, IL-26, MMP-1, gp130/sIL-6Rß, and sTNF-R1 were significantly higher in serum or GCF, and April/TNFSF13 was significantly higher in serum and saliva samples in moderate/severe periodontitis. The microbial composition in plaque also differed significantly between the two groups. In conclusion, the majority of RA patients had moderate/severe periodontitis and that this severe form of the disease was significantly associated with ACPA positivity, an altered subgingival microbial profile, and increased levels of systemic and oral inflammatory mediators.
Keywords: Porphyromonas gingivalis; anti-citrullinated protein autoantibodies; medication; periodontal disease; periodontitis; rheumatoid arthritis; rheumatoid factor; smoking.