FROM THE STANDPOINT OF HOST-PARASITE INTERACTIONS, family studies help us understand the host defensive factors and the molecular mechanisms involved in the periodontal immune response. In this study, we report the immunotogical profile of host-defensive functions, human leukocyte antigen (HLA) phenotypes, and the microflora of a mother (rapidly progressive periodontitis), an older son (periodontally healthy), a younger son (localized juvenile periodontitis), and a daughter (localized juvenile periodontitis). We examined the peripheral neutrophil functions, phenotypic and functional analysis of peripheral lymphocytes, serum immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody titers against periodontopathic bacteria, serological type of HLA class II antigens, and bacterial flora in all periodontal pockets. The results showed that Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans was dominant in the pockets of all subjects. The mother and two sons showed a depressed neutrophil chemotaxis to N-formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine. All subjects except the older son exhibited low T4/T8 ratios. The mother and daughter had raised levels of IgG titers to Porphyromonas gingivalis. All subjects had HLA phenotypes of DRw52 and DQ1 in common. We found that the family members had similar disorders in certain defensive functions. This family has been a model for our understanding of the host defensive factors in the development of early-onset periodontitis.
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