Apoptotic Pathways Triggered by Oral Malodorous Compounds in Periodontal Cells:Novel Periodontal Pathologic Cause

  • Bogdan Calenic
  • Ken YaegakiEmail author
Part of the Oxidative Stress in Applied Basic Research and Clinical Practice book series (OXISTRESS)


Volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) in general, and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) in particular, are the main compounds responsible for oral malodor. Increased levels of H2S have been found to be an important reason of periodontal diseaseas well as Lipid polysaccharides. A growing body of scientific literature shows that H2S is involved in the initiation and development of periodontal infections. Recent studies demonstrate a direct relationship between elevated physiological levels of H2S and apoptosis in oral tissues. Exposure to H2S triggers apoptosis in different oral cell types such as oral-keratinocyte cells, oral-keratinocyte stem cells, gingival fibroblasts, osteoblasts, and dental-pulp stem cells. Apoptotic levels and the molecular mechanisms of activation appear to be dependent on incubation time and on cell type. After 1 or 2 days of incubation, H2S activates the intrinsic pathway but not the extrinsic pathway in the majority of the cell types studied. Moreover, important mitochondrial pathway checkpoints such as caspase-9, mitochondrial-membrane depolarization, cytochrome c, and caspase-3 are activated in cells derived from human dental pulp and human gingival epithelium. Interestingly, the death ligand pathway seems to be activated only in osteoblast cells. These cells aside, initiator caspase-9, characteristic of the intrinsic pathway, and caspase 8, a marker of the extrinsic pathway, are also increased. Of all the cellular types studied, apoptotic levels are the highest in keratinocytes and especially in oral-keratinocyte stem cells, probably as a protective mechanism against DNA mutations. Another interesting finding is that DNA damage increases as a result of H2S exposure, which together with the activation of certain genes along the p53 molecular pathway suggests a possible role for VSCs in carcinogenesis.


Periodontal Disease Periodontal Tissue Gingival Crevicular Fluid Gingival Fibroblast Oral Tissue 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Dental MedicineCarol Davila University of Medicine and PharmacyBucharestRomania
  2. 2.Department of Oral HealthNippon Dental UniversityChyoda-kuJapan

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