Interleukin-21 expression and its association with proinflammatory cytokines in untreated chronic periodontitis patients
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Background: Interleukin-21 (IL-21) controls the differentiation of T-helper Th17 cells and induces the production of IL-17 in this T-cell subtype. The aim of this study is to determine the relative expression of IL-21 in gingival tissues of chronic periodontitis patients and correlate/associate this expression with proinflammatory cytokines and clinical parameters of disease. Methods: Samples of gingival biopsies were collected from chronic periodontitis patients (n = 10) and controls (n = 8). The mRNA expressions of IL-21, IL-1b, IL-6, IL-17, IL-23, IL-10, and transforming growth factor-b1 (TGF-b1) were quantified using real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. IL-21 levels were compared between chronic periodontitis and healthy gingival tissues and correlated with cytokine and clinical parameters of tissue destruction. Results: A significant overexpression of IL-21, IL-1b, IL-6, IL-17, and IL-23p19 was detected in periodontal disease– affected tissues compared to healthy gingival tissues. IL-10 and TGF-b1 were, however, downregulated in periodontal lesions. IL-21 yielded significant positive correlations with probing depth, clinical attachment level, IL-1b, and IL-6. In addition, IL-21 was negatively correlated with IL-10 and TGF-b1. Conclusions: IL-21 was overexpressed in chronic periodontitis gingival tissues and correlated with clinical parameters of periodontal destruction and with proinflammatory cytokines. Therefore, IL-21 might play a role in the tissue destruction that characterizes chronic periodontal disease. J Periodontol 2012;83:948-954.
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