This subproject is one of many research subprojects utilizing the resources provided by a Center grant funded by NIH/NCRR. The subproject and investigator (PI) may have received primary funding from another NIH source, and thus could be represented in other CRISP entries. The institution listed is for the Center, which is not necessarily the institution for the investigator. Chronic periodontitis and oral candidiasis are the most frequent opportunistic oral infections associated with immunosuppression caused by disease or treatment. These oral infections are frequently asymptomatic and therefore can remain undiagnosed and untreated. Solid organ transplant recipients represent a growing population of chronically immunosuppressed patients whose oral health status has been largely uncharacterized. Because recent studies have shown that chronic oral infection can trigger low grade systemic inflammation which may contribute to vascular disease and because chronic graft vasculitis can lead to transplant rejection, studies characterizing the oral and systemic inflammatory status in this patient population are urgently needed. Serum interleukin-6 (IL-6) and C-reactive protein (CRP) are well established, sensitive markers of systemic inflammation which have been shown to be elevated in chronic periodontitis patients and are also good diagnostic indicators for transplant rejection. In this proposal we hypothesize that in transplant patients with Candida stomatitis or chronic periodontitis, chronic elevation of serum IL-6 may directly or indirectly (via induction of CRP) be associated with chronic graft allograft failure. To begin to explore a potential relationship between chronic oral opportunistic infection and chronic transplant rejection we propose to a) study the prevalence of oral candidiasis and chronic periodontitis in their patients population; b) collect preliminary data on a possible association between the presence of these oral opportunistic infections and a history of chronic rejection; and c) determine the levels of IL-6 and CRP in the serum of transplant patients and study their relationship with i) the presence of oral infection; and ii) the levels of oral mucosal IL-6 expression in situ. The pilot work proposed herein will provide the framework for the design of a larger scale prospective clinical study which will conclusively address the role of oral opportunistic infections in systemic inflammation and chronic transplant rejection in this special needs patient population.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Center for Research Resources (NCRR)
General Clinical Research Centers Program (M01)
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National Center for Research Resources Initial Review Group (RIRG)
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University of Connecticut
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