Immunoglobulin‐degrading enzymes in localized juvenile periodontitis

R. L. Gregory, D. E. Kim, J. C. Kindle, L. C. Hobbs, D. R. Lloyd

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57 Scopus citations


Previous reports have indicated the association of periodontal diseases with elevated levels of serum immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies to periodontally relevant bacteria. Recent results from this laboratory suggest that enzymes proteolytic for immunoglobulins are important virulence factors of several periodontal bacteria. Specifically, enzymes from Porphyromonas (Bacteroides) gingivalis culture supernatant fluid (SF) cleaved human IgG (4 subclasses), IgA1 and IgA2, IgM, IgD and IgE. Proteolytic enzymes from Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans culture SF cleaved IgG, IgA and IgM. An enriched Ig proteolytic preparation from Capnocytophaga ochracea culture SF was shown to extensively cleave all 4 subclasses of human IgG. Extensive degradation of IgG and IgA in crevicular fluid samples on SDS-PAGE from periodontal disease sites of localized juvenile periodontitis (LJP) patients in comparison to little degradation in healthy sites indicated the potential role the proteolytic enzymes from periodontopathogenic bacteria may play in situ. Treatment of IgG with P. gingivalis, A. actinomycetemcomitans and C. ochracea SF resulted in similar patterns of degradation. LJP patients had significantly higher levels of IgG and IgA proteolytic activity in whole saliva than age-, sex-, and race-matched periodontal disease-free controls. However, not all of the proteolytic activity could be ascribed to bacterial proteases since neutrophils are also present in large numbers at diseased sites. Using similar techniques, lysates of neutrophils from healthy controls cleaved IgG, IgA and IgM. The observation of enhanced Ig cleavage activity in crevicular fluid and saliva in LJP patients suggest a role for Ig proteolytic enzymes in LJP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-183
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Periodontal Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1992


  • immunoglobulin
  • periodontitis
  • protease
  • saliva

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Periodontics

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