The innate host response in caries and periodontitis

Joerg Meyle, Henrik Dommisch, Sabine Groeger, Rodrigo A. Giacaman, Massimo Costalonga, Mark Herzberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Introduction: Innate immunity rapidly defends the host against infectious insults. These reactions are of limited specificity and exhaust without providing long-term protection. Functional fluids and effector molecules contribute to the defence against infectious agents, drive the immune response, and direct the cellular players. Aim: To review the literature and present a summary of current knowledge about the function of tissues, cellular players and soluble mediators of innate immunity relevant to caries and periodontitis. Methods: Historical and recent literature was critically reviewed based on publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Results: The innate immune response is vital to resistance against caries and periodontitis and rapidly attempts to protect against infectious agents in the dental hard and soft tissues. Soluble mediators include specialized proteins and lipids. They function to signal to immune and inflammatory cells, provide antimicrobial resistance, and also induce mechanisms for potential repair of damaged tissues. Conclusions: Far less investigated than adaptive immunity, innate immune responses are an emerging scientific and therapeutic frontier. Soluble mediators of the innate response provide a network of signals to organize the near immediate molecular and cellular response to infection, including direct and immediate antimicrobial activity. Further studies in human disease and animal models are generally needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1215-1225
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of clinical periodontology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Research on this topic performed in the Herzberg laboratory has been supported by NIH/NIDCR grants R01DE11831, R21DE015056, R01DE015503, and R01DE021206.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd


  • caries
  • hard tissues
  • innate host response
  • periodontitis
  • soft tissues review


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