Aging humans display an increased prevalence and severity of periodontitis, although the mechanisms underlying these findings remain poorly understood. This report examined antigenic diversity of P. gingivalis related to disease presence and patient demographics. Serum IgG antibody to P. gingivalis strains ATCC33277, FDC381, W50 (ATCC53978), W83, A7A1-28 (ATCC53977) and A7436 was measured in 426 participants [periodontally healthy (n = 61), gingivitis (N = 66) or various levels of periodontitis (N = 299)]. We hypothesized that antigenic diversity in P. gingivalis could contribute to a lack of "immunity" in the chronic infections of periodontal disease. Across the strains, the antibody levels in the oldest age group were lower than in the youngest groups, and severe periodontitis patients did not show higher antibody with aging. While 80 % of the periodontitis patients in any age group showed an elevated response to at least one of the P. gingivalis strains, the patterns of individual responses in the older group were also substantially different than the other age groups. Significantly greater numbers of older patients showed strain-specific antibody profiles to only 1 strain. The findings support that P. gingivalis may demonstrate antigenic diversity/drift within patients and could be one factor to help explain the inefficiency/ineffectiveness of the adaptive immune response in managing the infection.
Keywords: Adaptive immunity; Aging; Antibody; Antigenic drift; Periodontitis.
Copyright © 2019 European Federation of Immunological Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Conflict of interest statement
Declaration of Competing Interest The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.
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