Highly increased numbers of leukocytes in inflamed gingiva from patients with HIV infection

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BackgroundHIV infection increases susceptibility for marginal periodontitis, with horizontal and rapid loss of periodontal soft tissues and alveolar bone.ObjectivesTo examine whether numbers, distribution and some properties of mast cells, neutrophils and macrophages are normal in chronically inflamed gingiva of HIV-positive patients.MethodsGingival biopsies were stained for mast cell tryptase and chymase, neutrophil elastase, CD68, human transforming growth factor β1, HLA-DR, FcγRI, FcγRII and FcγRIII and calprotectin.ResultsPatients at all stages of HIV infection showed radically increased numbers of mast cells and neutrophils throughout the connective tissue, and of macrophages below the oral gingival epithelium (P < 0.05).ConclusionHIV infection is associated with increased numbers of mast cells, macrophages and neutrophils in the chronic periodontal lesion. This may predispose for tissue destruction through the release of inflammatory mediators and effector molecules. The unusually heavy cell infiltrate throughout the gingival connective tissue may contribute to the diverging pattern of periodontal tissue loss in HIV-positive patients.

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