J Periodontal Implant Sci.  2010 Aug;40(4):153-163.

Vaccines against periodontitis: a forward-looking review

  • 1Department of Periodontology, Pusan National University School of Dentistry, Yangsan, Korea. jrapa@pusan.ac.kr
  • 2Faculty of Dentistry, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.


Periodontal disease, as a polymicrobial disease, is globally endemic as well as being a global epidemic. It is the leading cause for tooth loss in the adult population and has been positively related to life-threatening systemic diseases such as atherosclerosis and diabetes. As a result, it is clear that more sophisticated therapeutic modalities need to be developed, which may include vaccines. Up to now, however, no periodontal vaccine trial has been successful in satisfying all the requirements; to prevent the colonization of a multiple pathogenic biofilm in the subgingival area, to elicit a high level of effector molecules such as immunoglobulin sufficient to opsonize and phagocytose the invading organisms, to suppress the induced alveolar bone loss, or to stimulate helper T-cell polarization that exerts cytokine functions optimal for protection against bacteria and tissue destruction. This article reviews all the vaccine trials so as to construct a more sophisticated strategy which may be relevant in the future. As an innovative strategy to circumvent these barriers, vaccine trials to stimulate antigen-specific T-cells polarized toward helper T-cells with a regulatory phenotype (Tregs, CD4+, CD25+, FoxP3+) have also been introduced. Targeting not only a single pathogen, but polymicrobial organisms, and targeting not only periodontal disease, but also periodontal disease-triggered systemic disease could be a feasible goal.


Immunization; Periodontitis; Vaccines
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