Periodontitis in pregnant baboons: Systemic inflammation and adaptive immune responses and pregnancy outcomes in a baboon model

J. L. Ebersole, S. C. Holt, D. Cappelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background/Objectives: Chronic periodontal infections have been suggested to contribute to the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes. Material and Methods: This study describes the relationship of patterns of systemic inflammatory mediators and IgG antibody to 20 oral bacteria in pregnant female baboons (Papio anubis) coupled with clinical features of ligature-induced periodontitis, as risk indicators for adverse pregnancy outcomes. Animals showing a preterm delivery and/or low birth weight newborns, as well as those pregnancies resulting in spontaneous abortion, stillbirth, or fetal demise were tabulated as adverse pregnancy outcomes. Results: A significantly greater frequency of the periodontitis group neonates had a low birth weight (18.1%; p = 0.008) and decreased gestational age (9.8%). Spontaneous abortion/stillbirth/fetal demise were increased in the periodontitis (8.7%) versus the control group (3.8%) (p = 0.054). The baseline oral clinical presentation of the experimental animals did not relate to the adverse pregnancy outcomes. Animals with the greatest extent/severity of periodontitis progression during the initial 1/2 of gestation (ie. to mid-pregnancy) had the greatest risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes. Baseline biological parameters indicating historical responses of the animals to periodontal challenge demonstrated individual variation in selected mediators, some of which became more differential during ligature-induced periodontitis. The relationship of clinical parameters to systemic inflammatory responses was consistent with a temporal contribution to adverse pregnancy outcomes in a subset of the animals. Conclusions: These results support a link between periodontitis and adverse pregnancy outcomes in the baboons and provide a prospective experimental model for delineating the biologic parameters that contribute to a causal relationship between chronic oral infections and birth events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)226-236
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Periodontal Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • Baboons
  • Inflammation
  • Periodontitis
  • Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Periodontics


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