Comparison of circulating tumour necrosis factor superfamily cytokines in periodontitis patients undergoing supportive therapy: a case-controlled cross-sectional study comparing smokers and non-smokers in health and disease

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B-cells are prominent immune cells in established periodontitis lesions. Tumour necrosis factor superfamily (TNFSF) cytokines play roles in supporting B-cell function as well as bone re-modelling. The influence of smoking on factors that support B-cell function in periodontitis remains unclear.


To investigate plasma concentrations of TNF (TNSF1A), soluble receptor activator of nuclear-factor Kappa-B ligand (sRANKL/TNFSF11), a proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL/TNFSF13), B-cell activating factor (BAFF/TNFSF13B) and Osteoprotegerin (OPG/TNFRSF11B) in smokers and non-smokers with and without chronic periodontitis

Materials & Methods

Plasma concentrations of TNFSF and OPG were evaluated in 200 systemically healthy subjects divided into four groups: non-smokers with periodontitis (n = 101), smokers with periodontitis (n = 55), healthy non-smokers (n = 27) and healthy smokers (n = 17).


Periodontitis patients had significantly higher plasma sRANKL, TNF, APRIL and BAFF and lower OPG than healthy subjects (p < 0.01). TNF and sRANKL were significantly greater in smokers with periodontitis (p = 0.011, p = 0.001) and OPG concentrations significantly lower (p = 0.001), whereas APRIL or BAFF were little changed. Plasma APRIL, BAFF, sRANKL and TNF correlated with probing depth and clinical attachment loss.


TNFSF cytokines correlate with periodontitis disease severity. However, only TNF, sRANKL and OPG levels were altered by cigarette smoking. APRIL and BAFF appear as good indicators of disease severity.

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