Salivary proteomics in bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis of the jaw

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The objective of this study was to identify differentially expressed salivary proteins in bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis of the jaw (BRONJ) patients that could serve as biomarkers for BRONJ diagnosis.


Whole saliva obtained from 20 BRONJ patients and 20 controls were pooled within groups. The samples were analyzed using iTRAQ-labeled two-dimensional liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry.


Overall, 1340 proteins were identified. Of these, biomarker candidates were selected based onP-value (<0.001), changes in protein expression (≥1.5-fold increase or decrease), and unique peptides identified (≥2). Three comparisons made between BRONJ and control patients identified 200 proteins to be differentially expressed in BRONJ patients. A majority of these proteins were predicted to have a role in drug metabolism and immunological and dermatological diseases. Of all the differentially expressed proteins, we selected metalloproteinase-9 and desmoplakin for further validation. Immunoassays confirmed increased expression of metalloproteinase-9 in individual saliva (P= 0.048) and serum samples (P= 0.05) of BRONJ patients. Desmoplakin was undetectable in saliva. However, desmoplakin levels tended to be lower in BRONJ serum than controls (P= 0.157).


Multiple pathological reactions are involved in BRONJ development. One or more proteins identified by this study may prove to be useful biomarkers for BRONJ diagnosis. The role of metalloproteinase-9 and desmoplakin in BRONJ requires further investigation.

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