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Low level of IgG antibodies for Tannerella forsythia predicts cardiovascular disease mortality

Tannerella forsythia is a bacterium of the so-called red complex which is associated with chronic periodontitis.

Red blood cells. Low level of IgG antibodies for Tannerella forsyhtiha predicts cardiovascular disease mortality

Low level of IgG antibodies for Tannerella forsythia predicts cardiovascular disease mortality. Illustration photo:

The red complex described by Socransky et al in 1998 consists of the three anaerobe bacteria: Tannerella forsythia (TF), Porphyromonas gingivalis (PG) and Treponema denticola (TD) which are identified in deep periodontal pockets. In the Oslo II-study from 2000 on elderly men we wanted to study the IgG antibody level of the bacteria of the red complex and in addition Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans (AA).

IgG antibodies were measured by the ELISA-method in serum from 548 cases who had experienced a myocardial infarction and 624 controls who were randomly selected participants of the Oslo II-study. Our hypothesis was that oral bacteria can metastasize to the cardiovascular system, and bacterial antibody levels may give an indication of a relevant immunological process. We wanted to measure the antibody levels in order to study their association to mortality by cardiovascular diseases during the 12 ½-years follow-up period.

The measurements of the four bacteria showed that low level of antibody to TF was significantly associated with an 82% increased risk of mortality. The risk was observed by comparison of the first quartile versus the fourth quartile measurement of antibody levels of TF. The result was independent of age, education, diabetes, daily smoking, and systolic blood pressure. Kaplan Meier plots show that this group of men had the largest risk throughout the period. The result strengthen the research that there is an association between oral infections and cardiovascular disease.


Lund Håheim L, Schwarze PE, Thelle DS, Nafstad P, Rønningen KS, Olsen I. Low levels of antibodies for the oral bacterium Tannerella forsytiha predict cardiovascular disease mortality in men with myocardial infarction: A prospective cohort study. Med Hypotheses. 2020 Jan 20;138:109575. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2020.109575.


Published June 2, 2020 10:32 AM - Last modified Jan. 31, 2022 11:43 AM