Periodontitis, a complex chronic inflammatory disease caused by subgingival infection, is among the most prevalent microbial diseases in humans. Although traditional microbiological research on periodontitis has focused on putative bacteria such as Porphyromonas gingivalis, the herpes virus is proposed to be involved in the pathogenesis of periodontitis because bacterial etiology alone does not adequately explain various clinical aspects. In this study, we established for the first time, more Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) DNA is found deeper in periodontal pockets of chronic periodontitis in Japanese patients. Subgingival samples were collected from 85 patients with chronic periodontitis having two periodontal sites with probing depths (PD) of ≤ 3 mm (shallow) or ≥ 5 mm (deep) and were subjected to a nested polymerase chain reaction. EBV DNA was more frequently detected in patients with deeper PD sites (66%) than in those with shallow PD sites (48%) or healthy controls (45%). Coexistence of EBV DNA and P. gingivalis was significantly higher in patients with deeper PD sites (40%) than in those with shallow PD sites (14%) or healthy controls (13%). Although no difference in clinical index for periodontitis, the odds ratio of EBV DNA in patients with deeper PD sites was 2.36, which was 2.07-fold higher than that in those with shallow PD sites. Interestingly, the odds of acquiring chronic periodontitis (PD ≥ 5 mm) were higher in the presence of both EBV DNA and P. gingivalis compared with either EBV DNA or P. gingivalis only. In addition, we also observed that EBV-encoded small RNA (EBER) in positive cells of human gingival tissues. These results would suggest that EBV DNA may serve as a pathogenic factor leading to chronic periodontitis among Japanese patients.
Kato, A., Imai, K., Ochiai, K., & Ogata, Y. (2013). Higher Prevalence of Epstein-Barr Virus DNA in Deeper Periodontal Pockets of Chronic Periodontitis in Japanese Patients. PLoS ONE, 8(8). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0071990