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Online ISSN 1827-174X
Maccarinelli G., Belotti R., Savoldi E., Gervasoni M., Cocchi D.
Background. The easiest defence system carried out by the organism, the inflammatory response, happens with the support of phagocyting cells: the polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNL) or neutrophils are the most important cell line acting as the first defence of the organism against bacterial agents. Previous studies have shown a correlation between a reduction of the immune function and development of periodontal disease. Furthermore, it is well known that transplant patients show a variety of oral lesions as a consequence of their therapy, in particular to immunosuppressive drugs. The aim of this study is to evaluate the phagocytosis and ''killing'' functions of PMNL in transplant patients and in patients with periodontal disease in comparison with a group of healthy subjects.
Methods. PMNL, were isolated by spontaneous sedimentation from heparinized blood and centrifugation of plasma on density medium. Phagocytosis rate was expressed as the percentage of Candida albicans phagocyted after 20' incubation and phagocyting PMNLs. Intracellular killing was expressed as the percentage of yeast cells killed.
Results. We did not find a significant decrease of phagocytosis in transplant patients and patients with periodontal disease while these two groups of patients showed a decrease of PMNL ''killing'' activity in respect to healthy controls, an effect which was unrelated to the severity of periodontal disease.
Conclusions. These results suggest that a reduction of ''killing'' activity, either spontaneous or drug-induced, would contribute to the development of periodontal disease.