Association Between Serum Antibodies to Periodontal Bacteria and Rheumatoid Factor in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

Charlene E. Goh, Jacob Kopp, Panos N. Papapanou, Jerry A. Molitor, Ryan T. Demmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


Objective: Alterations in the microbiome, including the periodontal microbiome, may be a risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Most studies that have analyzed this association are relatively small, focus primarily on a single periodontal pathogen (Porphyromonas gingivalis), and are not population based. This study was undertaken to investigate the association between elevated serum levels of IgG antibodies to 19 periodontal species and the prevalence of rheumatoid factor (RF) in a large nationally representative sample of adults. Methods: The Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES-III) is a cross-sectional sample of the noninstitutionalized US population (n = 33,994). Our study population included all dentate participants who were 60 years and older, did not have RA as defined by a modified version of the American College of Rheumatology 1987 criteria, and had complete data for both serum IgG antibodies against periodontal bacteria and serum RF antibody titer (n = 2,461). Results: Adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) summarizing the relationship between the 19 periodontal serum IgG antibodies and RF seropositivity ranged from 0.53 (95% CI 0.29–0.97) to 1.27 (95% CI 0.79–2.06), and 17 of the 19 observed ORs were <1.0. The ORs for RF seropositivity among participants with elevated Prevotella intermedia (0.53 [95% CI 0.29–0.97]) and Capnocytophaga ochracea (0.54 [0.31–0.95]) IgG levels were statistically significant. Conclusion: Our findings indicate that elevated levels of IgG antibodies to periodontal bacteria are mostly unassociated with RF seropositivity in the nationally representative NHANES-III. Elevated levels of antibodies to P intermedia and C ochracea are associated with lower odds of RF seropositivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2384-2393
Number of pages10
JournalArthritis and Rheumatology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


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