Different host proteins play a central role in cell response during bacterial infections, the Bcl-2-Associated X protein (BAX) and Vascular Cell Adhesion Protein 1 (VCAM-1) are often reported in infective primary events during cell injury.


The aim of this study is to evaluate the predictive value of these two proteins as biomarkers of oral bacterial infection, with particular emphasis on the tongue, which plays an important role in microbial homeostasis in the mouth.


Twenty-nine patients were recruited and divided according to the Periodontal Index (CPI), 4 of them were severely compromised periodontal patients. Oral hygiene, gingival tissues and plaque presence were evaluated clinically. The laboratory analysis carried out on tongue tissue included: total bacterial genomes, proportion of specific periopathogens and BAX -VCAM-1 expression rate, while Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) were measured in saliva.


Neither tongue microbiological status nor salivary ROS level corresponded with the state of disease. VCAM-1 mRNA expression rate was comparable in all patients but, on the contrary, BAX expression resulted high in periodontally-compromised patients and appears related to periodontal status in the analyzed subjects.


This preliminary work suggests that the BAX protein is a possible candidate in a prognostic marker study for oral diseases started by periodontal bacteria. For example, none of the evaluated clinical and microbiological parameters could predict the presence, prognosis or recurrence of periodontal diseases. This biomarker could be a valuable tool in determining the risk, diagnosis and prognosis of this human illness.

Keywords: VCAM-1 and BAX proteins, Tongue biofilm, Periodontitis and incipient diagnosis, Periodontal pathogens, Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), Microbial homeostasis.
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