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PLoS One. 2014 Aug 18;9(8):e105181. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0105181. eCollection 2014.

Global metabolomic analysis of human saliva and plasma from healthy and diabetic subjects, with and without periodontal disease.

Author information

Colgate Palmolive Technology Center, Piscataway, NJ, United States of America.
Department of Oral Biology, School of Dental Medicine, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Buffalo, NY, United States of America.
Metabolon, Durham, NC, United States of America.

Erratum in

  • PLoS One. 2014;9(11):e114091.


Recent studies suggest that periodontal disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus are bi-directionally associated. Identification of a molecular signature for periodontitis using unbiased metabolic profiling could allow identification of biomarkers to assist in the diagnosis and monitoring of both diabetes and periodontal disease. This cross-sectional study identified plasma and salivary metabolic products associated with periodontitis and/or diabetes in order to discover biomarkers that may differentiate or demonstrate an interaction of these diseases. Saliva and plasma samples were analyzed from 161 diabetic and non-diabetic human subjects with a healthy periodontium, gingivitis and periodontitis. Metabolite profiling was performed using Metabolon's platform technology. A total of 772 metabolites were found in plasma and 475 in saliva. Diabetics had significantly higher levels of glucose and α-hydroxybutyrate, the established markers of diabetes, for all periodontal groups of subjects. Comparison of healthy, gingivitis and periodontitis saliva samples within the non-diabetic group confirmed findings from previous studies that included increased levels of markers of cellular energetic stress, increased purine degradation and glutathione metabolism through increased levels of oxidized glutathione and cysteine-glutathione disulfide, markers of oxidative stress, including increased purine degradation metabolites (e.g. guanosine and inosine), increased amino acid levels suggesting protein degradation, and increased ω-3 (docosapentaenoate) and ω-6 fatty acid (linoleate and arachidonate) signatures. Differences in saliva between diabetic and non-diabetic cohorts showed altered signatures of carbohydrate, lipid and oxidative stress exist in the diabetic samples. Global untargeted metabolic profiling of human saliva in diabetics replicated the metabolite signature of periodontal disease progression in non-diabetic patients and revealed unique metabolic signatures associated with periodontal disease in diabetics. The metabolites identified in this study that discriminated the periodontal groups may be useful for developing diagnostics and therapeutics tailored to the diabetic population.

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