Review of osteoimmunology and the host response in endodontic and periodontal lesions

Dana T. Graves, Thomas Oates, Gustavo P. Garlet

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

201 Scopus citations


Both lesions of endodontic origin and periodontal diseases involve the host response to bacteria and the formation of osteolytic lesions. Important for both is the upregulation of inflammatory cytokines that initiate and sustain the inflammatory response. Also important are chemokines that induce recruitment of leukocyte subsets and bone-resorptive factors that are largely produced by recruited inflammatory cells. However, there are differences also. Lesions of endodontic origin pose a particular challenge since that bacteria persist in a protected reservoir that is not readily accessible to the immune defenses. Thus, experiments in which the host response is inhibited in endodontic lesions tend to aggravate the formation of osteolytic lesions. In contrast, bacteria that invade the periodontium appear to be less problematic so that blocking arms of the host response tend to reduce the disease process. Interestingly, both lesions of endodontic origin and periodontitis exhibit inflammation that appears to inhibit bone formation. In periodontitis, the spatial location of the inflammation is likely to be important so that a host response that is restricted to a subepithelial space is associated with gingivitis, while a host response closer to bone is linked to bone resorption and periodontitis. However, the persistence of inflammation is also thought to be important in periodontitis since inflammation present during coupled bone formation may limit the capacity to repair the resorbed bone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5304
JournalJournal of Oral Microbiology
Issue number2011
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Bacteria
  • Bone
  • Chemokine
  • Cytokine
  • Endodontic lesion
  • Gingivitis
  • Inflammation
  • Periodontitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry (miscellaneous)
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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