23 Mar Periodontitis: New Classification Based on Gene Expression
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Panos N. Papapanou:
Professor of Dental Medicine;
Chairman, Section of Oral and Diagnostic Sciences
Director, Division of Periodontics Section of Oral and Diagnostic Sciences,
College of Dental Medicine, Columbia University, New York, NY
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?
Dr. Papapanou: Gene expression signatures in gum tissues obtained from patients with periodontitis identified two fairly robust clusters, suggesting potential differences in pathobiologic processes between the two groups. In addition, the two clusters displayed differences in important features of the disease (e.g., the extent and severity of periodontitis, and the level of colonization by periodontal bacteria). These findings indicate that gene expression patterns may form the basis for a novel, pathobiology-based classification of periodontitis.
MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?
Dr. Papapanou: While we did expect that the gene expression signatures would form clusters of patients, we were positively surprised to see clear phenotypic differences between the clusters (i.e., differences in the features of the disease). Importantly, these differences were not only manifested at the tooth areas where the gum tissues were obtained from, but represented the entire dentition, suggesting that the few gum tissue samples that we analyzed from every patient could indeed characterize the whole individual.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Papapanou: A better classification of periodontitis, one that reflects the underlying pathobiology of the disease, may lead to more accurate diagnosis and more timely and effective treatments. We have obviously a long way to go to realize these goals, but our findings suggest that this task is feasible.