The role of DNA methylation and histone modification in periodontal disease: A systematic review

Ismael Khouly, Rosalie Salus Braun, Michelle Ordway, Bradley Eric Aouizerat, Iya Ghassib, Lena Larsson, Farah Asa’ad

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Despite a number of reports in the literature on the role of epigenetic mechanisms in periodontal disease, a thorough assessment of the published studies is warranted to better comprehend the evidence on the relationship between epigenetic changes and periodontal disease and its treatment. Therefore, the aim of this systematic review is to identify and synthesize the evidence for an association between DNA methylation/histone modification and periodontal disease and its treatment in human adults. A systematic search was independently conducted to identify articles meeting the inclusion criteria. DNA methylation and histone modifications associated with periodontal diseases, gene expression, epigenetic changes after periodontal therapy, and the association between epigenetics and clinical parameters were evaluated. Sixteen studies were identified. All included studies examined DNA modifications in relation to periodontitis, and none of the studies examined histone modifications. Substantial variation regarding the reporting of sample sizes and patient characteristics, statistical analyses, and methodology, was found. There was some evidence, albeit inconsistent, for an association between DNA methylation and periodontal disease. IL6, IL6R, IFNG, PTGS2, SOCS1, and TNF were identified as candidate genes that have been assessed for DNA methylation in periodontitis. While several included studies found associations between methylation levels and periodontal disease risk, there is insufficient evidence to support or refute an association between DNA methylation and periodontal disease/therapy in human adults. Further research must be conducted to identify reproducible epigenetic markers and determine the extent to which DNA methylation can be applied as a clinical biomarker.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6217
Pages (from-to)1-37
Number of pages37
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • DNA methylation
  • Epigenetics
  • Gene expression
  • Gingival diseases
  • Gingivitis
  • Histone modification
  • Periodontal diseases
  • Periodontitis
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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