Short-chain carboxylic acid concentration in human gingival crevicular fluid

R. Niederman, Y. Buyle-Bodin, B. Y. Lu, P. Robinson, C. Naleway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Short-chain carboxylic acids (e.g., lactic acid, propionic acid, butyric acid) are metabolic by-products of bacterial metabolism which can accumulate in the gingival crevice. It is of no small consequence, therefore, that 1- to 5-mM concentrations of these acids exhibit significant biological activity, including the ability to alter cell proliferation and gene expression in cells of importance to the periodontium. This communication reports on the in vivo concentrations of propionic and butyric acid in the gingival crevices of periodontal subjects with severe and mild disease. The results indicated that severely diseased subjects exhibited a > 10-fold increase in the mM concentration of these acids when compared with mildly diseased subjects (mean propionic acid - severe = 9.5 ± 1.8 mM, and mild = 0.8 ± 0.3 mM; mean butyric acid - severe = 2.6 ± 0.4 mM, and mild = 0.2 ± 0.04 mM). These differences (mean ± SE) were significant (p < 0.0001). The propionic and butyric acid concentrations were below detection limits in healthy sites of mildly diseased subjects. The propionic and butyric acid concentrations also associated significantly with clinical measures of disease severity (e.g., pocket depth, attachment level) and inflammation (e.g., subgingival temperature, % of sites bleeding when probed), and with the total microbial load (all p < 0.05). Taken together, these data suggest that short-chain carboxylic acids play a mediating role in periodontal disease pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)575-579
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of dental research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1997


  • Butyric acid
  • Periodontal disease
  • Propionic acid
  • Short-chain carboxylic acids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry


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