Periodontal disease is one of the most prevalent chronic inflammatory diseases. There is a genetic component to susceptibility and resistance to this disease. Using a mouse model, we investigated the progression of alveolar bone loss by gene expression profiling of susceptible and resistant mouse strains (BALB/cByJ and A/J, respectively). We employed a novel and sensitive quantitative real-time PCR method to compare basal RNA transcription of a 48-gene set in the gingiva and the spleen and the subsequent changes in gene expression due to Porphyromonas gingivalis oral infection. Basal expression of interleukin-1 beta (Il1b) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (Tnf) mRNA was higher in the gingiva of the susceptible BALB/cByJ mice than in the gingiva of resistant A/J mice. Gingival Il1b gene expression increased further and Stat6 gene expression was turned on after P. gingivalis infection in BALB/cByJ mice but not in A/J mice. The basal expression of interleukin-15 (Il15) in the gingiva and the basal expression of p-selectin (Selp) in the spleen were higher in the resistant A/J mice than in the susceptible BALB/cByJ mice. In the resistant A/J mice the expression of no genes detectably changed in the gingiva after infection. These results suggest a molecular phenotype in which discrete sets of differentially expressed genes are associated with genetically determined susceptibility (Il1b, Tnf, and Stat6) or resistance (Il15 and Selp) to alveolar bone loss, providing insight into the genetic etiology of this complex disease.