Differential profiles of soluble and cellular toll like receptor (TLR)-2 and 4 in chronic periodontitis

Hawra AlQallaf, Yusuke Hamada, Steven Blanchard, Daniel Shin, Richard Gregory, Mythily Srinivasan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Chronic periodontitis is a common inflammatory disease initiated by a complex microbial biofilm and mediated by the host response causing destruction of the supporting tissues of the teeth. Host recognition of pathogens is mediated by toll-like receptors (TLRs) that bind conserved molecular patterns shared by large groups of microorganisms. The oral epithelial cells respond to most periodontopathic bacteria via TLR-2 and TLR-4. In addition to the membrane-associated receptors, soluble forms of TLR-2 (sTLR-2) and TLR-4 (sTLR-4) have been identified and are thought to play a regulatory role by binding microbial ligands. sTLR-2 has been shown to arise from ectodomain shedding of the extracellular domain of the membrane receptor and sTLR-4 is thought to be an alternate spliced form. Many studies have previously reported the presence of elevated numbers of viable exfoliated epithelial cells in the saliva of patients with chronic periodontitis. The objective of this study was to investigate the potential value of salivary sTLR-2 and sTLR-4 together with the paired epithelial cell-associated TLR-2/4 mRNA as diagnostic markers for chronic periodontitis. Unstimulated whole saliva was collected after obtaining informed consent from 40 individuals with either periodontitis or gingivitis. The sTLR-2 and sTLR4 in saliva was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The TLR-2 and TLR-4 transcript in the epithelial cells in saliva was measured by real time polymerase chain reaction. While levels of sTLR-2 exhibited an inverse correlation, sTLR-4 positively correlated with clinical parameters in the gingivitis cohort. Interestingly, both correlations were lost in the periodontitis cohort indicating a dysregulated host response. On the other hand, while the sTLR-2 and the paired epithelial cell associated TLR-2 mRNA exhibited a direct correlation (r 2 = 0.62), that of sTLR4 and TLR-4 mRNA exhibited an inverse correlation (r 2 = 0.53) in the periodontitis cohort. Collectively, assessments of salivary sTLR2 and sTLR4 together with the respective transcripts in the epithelial cells could provide clinically relevant markers of disease progression from gingivitis to periodontitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0200231
JournalPloS one
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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