Interleukin-12 and interleukin-16 in periodontal disease

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The immune system plays an important role in the pathological process of periodontitis. Interleukin-12 (IL-12) is produced by monocytes, macrophages and neutrophils. These cells are proinflammatory infiltrates in periodontitis tissues. High IL-12 will contribute to the immune reaction to Th1 type. IL-12 is an inducer of INF-r production. IFN-γ itself can also activate IL-12 production. Lipopolysaccharides (LPS) of periodontopathogens are also activators of IL-12. Interleukin-16 (IL-16) can cause the high affinity of IL-2 receptors on CD4+ cells and is chemotaxis to Th1 cells and CD4+ T cells. IL-16 can stimulate monocytes to produce proinflammatory cytokines and is highly associated with inflammation including arthritis, enteritis and allergic rhinitis. However, the information on IL-12 and IL-16 in periodontitis is not clear. In this study, 105 GCF samples were collected from 19 periodontal disease patients and 6 healthy ones. The clinical periodontal indices, the habits of cigarette smoking and alcohol drinking were recorded. ELISA was used to determine the levels of IL-12 and IL16 in the GCF.In the non-smoking/non-alcohol-drinking individuals: (1) the total amount of IL-12 (but not IL-16) was significantly higher in chronic periodontitis (CP) sites than gingivitis (G) or healthy (H) sites; (2) the diseased sites (CP + G) had a significantly higher total amount of IL-12 (but not IL-16) than the H sites. Among CP sites, both the concentration and total amount of IL-16 (but not IL-12) were significantly higher in alcohol drinkers/cigarette smokers as compared to the non-drinkers/non-smokers. CP sites of the drinkers/smokers also had significantly deeper probing pocket depth than sites of those without these two habits. IL-12 and IL-16 may be related to the pathogenesis of periodontal disease, but within the periodontitis sites, IL-16 may be related to disease severity in alcohol drinkers/smokers.

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