Periodontitis in the baboon: a potential model for human disease

D. R. Miller, T. B. Aufdemorte, W. C. Fox, T. C. Waldrop, B. L. Mealey, M. A. Brunsvold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Advances in periodontics with respect to disease activity, microbiology and immunology have demonstrated the multifactorial nature of periodontal diseases. This serves to underscore the need for an ideal animal model for periodontal research. Non‐human primates are most similar to man in comparison to other animal models. The baboon is an Old World monkey that has infrequently been used in periodontal research. Periodontal exams were accomplished on 116 baboons (Papio anubis, P. cynocephalus) ages 5 to 30 years with one baboon year being roughly equivalent to 3 to 4 human years. The study population consisted of 29 males and 87 females. Clinical parameters including probing depth, attachment level, mobility, plaque index and gingival index were collected. Radiographs were taken on 25 animals and correlated to clinical findings. Results showed a significant increase in mean probing depth and mean attachment level with age (p=0.0001). Disease prevalence and severity were not significantly different between genders. Mobility was uncommon; however, the prevalence and severity of furcation involvement increased with age. Radiographs suggested horizontal and isolated vertical bone loss. Plaque and gingival indices were at sustained high levels for all age groups and showed a statistically significant increase with age. Some baboons were found to develop a naturally‐occurring periodontitis that increased in severity with age. This primate may be a suitable model for studies in human periodontal disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)404-409
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Periodontal Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1995


  • animal models
  • baboon
  • periodontitis
  • primates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Periodontics


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