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19.02.2021 | Original Article Open Access

Cognitive dysfunction in young subjects with periodontal disease

Neurological Sciences
Simona I. Hategan, Sabrina A. Kamer, Ronald G. Craig, Cosmin Sinescu, Mony J. de Leon, Dragos C. Jianu, Catalin Marian, Bianca I. Bora, Traian-Flavius Dan, Claudiu D. Birdac, Anca Marcu, Angela R. Kamer, Meda Lavinia Negrutiu
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Supplementary Information

The online version contains supplementary material available at https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10072-021-05115-3.

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Periodontal disease is an inflammatory, dysbiotic condition. Studies have shown that in the elderly, periodontal disease was associated with cognitive dysfunction and Alzheimer’s disease.


To investigate whether young healthy subjects with periodontal disease have lower cognition compared to those without periodontal disease. The salivary cytokines (IL-1β, TNF-α) levels in relation to cognition were also tested.


In a monocenter, cross-sectional study, forty subjects [mean age (SD) = 34 (5) and 48% female] from western Romania were classified into periodontal disease conditions using radiographic assessment: 10 subjects had aggressive periodontitis (AGG_P), 20 chronic mild-moderate periodontitis (CR_P), and 10 no periodontitis (NL_P). Neuropsychological assessment performed by standardized neurologists and psychologist included Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT), Montreal Cognitive Assessment test (MOCA), Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), and Prague tests. Salivary cytokines levels were determined by ELISA.


RAVLT and MOCA delayed recall scores were lower in AGG_P group compared to NL_P and CR_P. The learning curve was also different with subjects with AGG_P showing reduced learning performance. Contrary to our hypothesis, salivary IL-1β associated with immediate but not delayed cognitive scores.


These results showed for the first time that subjects with AGG_P had cognitive dysfunction and IL-1β may play a role in this process.

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