The 81st Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2012)

Genetics of caries


Oral Biology, University of Pittsburgh

Saturday 1:00-1:15, Galleria South Add to calendar

Data on caries prevalence suggest that women may experience more carious lesions. There is evidence for a genetic component in caries susceptibility, and studies in humans show linkage and association between loci on chromosome X and caries experience. Linkage with autosomal loci also may explain why women may be more susceptible to caries. This presentation will describe candidate gene and genome wide approaches aiming to identify genetic factors contributing to caries that may ultimately explain why there are gender differences in caries experience. Our preliminary data points out to loci on the X chromosome, including the locus of the amelogenin gene, which is involved in tooth enamel formation and is differentially expressed in males versus females. Also, we have suggestive linkage data implicating 14q24.3, close to ESRRB (estrogen-related receptor beta). This gene encodes a protein with similarity to the estrogen receptor. Its function is unknown; however, this gene is likely to have diverse biological functions. One can argue that a gene with estrogen-related function could also contribute to the observed gender differences in caries frequency. Estrogens have been known to have a depressing effect on the secretion of growth hormone from the anterior pituitary. Growth hormone is closely related to the development and maintenance of normal histologic structure of salivary glands, the function of which, in turn, might influence caries formation.

This work is supported by the grant NIH/NIDCR R01-DE018914.

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