Apoptotic processes are important for physiologic renewal of an intact epithelial barrier and contribute some antimicrobial resistance for bacteria and viruses, as well as anti-inflammatory effects that benefits the mucosa. The oral cavity presents a model of host-bacterial interactions at mucosal surfaces, in which a panoply of microorganisms colonizes various niches in the oral cavity and creates complex multispecies biofilms that challenge the gingival tissues. This report details gene expression in apoptotic pathways that occur in oral mucosal tissues across the lifespan, using a nonhuman primate model. Macaca mulatta primates from 2 to 23 years of age (n = 23) were used in a cross-sectional study to obtain clinical healthy gingival tissues specimens. Further, mRNA was prepared and evaluated using the Affymetrix Rhesus GeneChip and 88 apoptotic pathway genes were evaluated. The results identified significant positive correlations with age in 12 genes and negative correlations with an additional five genes. The gene effects were predicted to alter apoptosis receptor levels, extrinsic apoptotic pathways through caspases, cytokine effects on apoptotic events, Ca+2-induced death signaling, cell cycle checkpoints, and potential effects of survival factors. Both the positively and negatively correlated genes within the apoptotic pathways provided evidence that healthy tissues in aging animals exhibit decreased apoptotic potential compared to younger animals. The results suggested that decreased physiologic apoptotic process in the dynamic septic environment of the oral mucosal tissues could increase the risk of aging tissues to undergo destructive disease processes through dysregulated inflammatory responses to the oral microbial burden.

Document Type


Publication Date


Notes/Citation Information

Published in Apoptosis, v. 18, no. 3, p. 249-259.

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

The copyright holder has granted the permission for posting the article here.

The document available for download is the authors' post-peer-review final draft of the article.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Funding Information

This work was supported by National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) grant 8P20GM103538-09.

Included in

Dentistry Commons