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Microbial profile comparisons of saliva, pooled and site-specific subgingival samples

in periodontitis patients

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to compare microbial profiles of saliva, pooled and site-specific subgingival samples in patients with periodontitis. We tested the hypotheses that saliva can be an alternative to pooled subgingival samples, when screening for presence of periopathogens. Design: Site specific subgingival plaque samples (n = 54), pooled subgingival plaque samples (n = 18) and stimulated saliva samples (n = 18) were collected from 18 patients with generalized chronic periodontitis. Subgingival and salivary microbiotas were characterized by means of HOMINGS (Human Oral Microbe Identification using Next Generation Sequencing) and microbial community profiles were compared using Spearman rank correlation coefficient. Results: Pronounced intraindividual differences were recorded in site-specific microbial profiles, and site-specific information was in general not reflected by pooled subgingival samples. Presence of Porphyromonas gingivalis, Treponema denticola, Prevotella intermedia, Filifactor alocis, Tannerella forsythia and Parvimona micra in site-specific subgingival samples were detected in saliva with an AUC of 0.79 (sensitivity: 0.61, specificity: 0.94), compared to an AUC of 0.76 (sensitivity: 0.56, specificity: 0.94) in pooled subgingival samples. Conclusions: Site-specific presence of periodontal pathogens was detected with comparable accuracy in stimulated saliva samples and pooled subgingival plaque samples. Consequently, saliva may be a reasonable surrogate for pooled subgingival samples when screening for presence of periopathogens. Future large-scale studies are needed to confirm findings from this study.

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