Enzymatic measurement of short-chain fatty acids and application in periodontal disease diagnosis

Kazu Hatanaka, Yasushi Shirahase, Toshiyuki Yoshida, Mari Kono, Naoki Toya, Shin Ichi Sakasegawa, Kenji Konishi, Tadashi Yamamoto, Kuniyasu Ochiai, Shogo Takashiba

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Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory condition caused by periodontal pathogens in the gingival sulcus. Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) produced by causal bacteria are closely related to the onset and progression of periodontal disease and have been reported to proliferate in the periodontal sulcus of patients experiencing this pathology. In such patients, propionic acid (C3), butyric acid (C4), isobutyric acid (IC4), valeric acid (C5), isovaleric acid (IC5), and caproic acid (C6), henceforth referred to as [C3-C6], has been reported to have a detrimental effect, while acetic acid (C2) exhibits no detrimental effect. In this study, we established an inexpensive and simple enzymatic assay that can fractionate and measure these acids. The possibility of applying this technique to determine the severity of periodontal disease by adapting it to specimens collected from humans has been explored. We established an enzyme system using acetate kinase and butyrate kinase capable of measuring SCFAs in two fractions, C2 and [C3-C6]. The gingival crevicular fluid (GCF) and saliva of 10 healthy participants and 10 participants with mild and severe periodontal disease were measured using the established enzymatic method and conventional gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The quantification of C2 and [C3-C6] in human GCF and saliva was well correlated when using the GC-MS method. Furthermore, both C2 and [C3-C6] in the GCF increased with disease severity. However, while no significant difference was observed between healthy participants and periodontal patients when using saliva, [C3-C6] significantly differed between mild and severe periodontal disease. The enzymatic method was able to measure C2 and [C3-C6] separately as well as using the GC-MS method. Furthermore, the C2 and [C3-C6] fractions of GCF correlated with disease severity, suggesting that this method can be applied clinically. In contrast, the quantification of C2 and [C3-C6] in saliva did not differ significantly between healthy participants and patients with periodontal disease. Future studies should focus on inflammation rather than on tissue destruction.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0268671
JournalPloS one
Issue number7 July
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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