Gregory Smutzer's article, "Molecular Demolition,"1 does not mention perhaps the most common disease attributed to the actions of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs): chronic periodontitis, better known as "gum disease."2 In periodontitis, MMP-8 is released by degranulating polymorphonuclear neutrophils, and is also secreted by fibroblasts, endothelial cells, epithelial cells and plasma cells in and around the gingival sulcus.3 Adult tooth loss from periodontitis is not usually life-threatening, but how many of us want to be without a well-functioning natural dentition?
Thomas C. Reinhart, DDS
University Medical Park
4450 E. Fletcher Ave. - Suite B
Tampa FL 33613

1. G. Smutzer, "Molecular demolition," The Scientist, 16[4]:34, Feb. 18, 2002.

2. H. Birkedal-Hansen et al., "Role of matrix metalloproteinases in human periodontal disease," Journal of Periodontology, 64:474-84, 1993.

3. N. Buduneli et al, "Gingival crevicular fluid matrix metalloproteinase-8 levels following adjunctive use of meloxicam and initial phase...

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