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Online ISSN 1827-174X
Del Fabbro M., Francetti L., Pizzoni L., Weinstein R. L.
An alteration of the immune system function is one of the main factors involved in the development of periodontal disease. Polymor-pho-nuclear neutrophil leukocytes (PMN) play a crucial role in the cell-mediated immune response against bacterial challenge. The mechanism of neutralization of pathogen microorganisms by PMNs involves many different steps: adhesion to capillary endothelium in the inflamed region, trans-endothelial migration, chemotaxis, phagocytosis and, ultimately, bacterial killing by oxidative and non-oxidative mechanisms. A defect in one of these steps leads to altered neutrophil function and, consequently, to a higher host susceptibility to periodontal tissue infection. The main intrinsic neutrophil diseases such as neutropenia, leukocyte adhesion deficiency (LAD-1), Che-diak-Higashi syndrome, Papillon-Lefèvre syndrome, chronic granulomatous disease (CGD), are often related to severe and early-onset forms of periodontitis, as described by many evidences in the literature. Therefore PMN dysfunctions, both intrinsic and extrinsic, represent an important risk factor for periodontal disease. Studies on the basic molecular mechanisms of such dysfunctions, also in terms of genetic polymorphisms, recently allowed to identify some specific markers related to a higher susceptibility to the development of disease. Many researches have yet to be performed aiming to gain insight on the dynamics of PMN activation and interaction with other cells, in order to improve and modulate neutrophil function and to develop specific approaches for care and prevention of periodontal diseases.