Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Periodontology


Background: Defining periodontal health has been an ambitious and complex goal. The numerous and varied definitions of what constitutes periodontal health have resulted in a collection of subjective and unreliable clinical findings to diagnose and classify periodontal health and disease. The aim of this study was to fundamentally delineate the molecular characteristics of healthy periodontal tissues in men and women as they age, using the most abundant connective tissue component: Collagens. Methods: Healthy gingival biopsies were separated into “young” (aged 18–35 years, five men/five women) and “old” (≥60 years, five men/four women) age groups depending on biological sex. RNA was extracted and next-generation RNA sequencing was performed using Unique Molecular Identifiers. Collagen gene expression was determined and quantified for young and old, male and female individuals. Results: Twenty-six human collagens were identified in healthy gingival tissues. In general, age and biological sex affected expression of collagen α-chain transcripts. Ten of the 26 human gingival collagen genes formed a unique pattern for gingival health. More specifically, the expression of fibrillary (types I and III), fibril-associated collagens with interrupted triple-helices (FACIT) and FACIT-like (types XII, XIV, and XX), network-forming (types IV and VI), transmembrane (type XVII), and multiplexin (types XV and XVIII) collagens, taken together, exhibited a distinct pattern of characteristics for gingival health that was independent of age or biological sex. Conclusions: Although specific α-chains of the collagen transcriptome were affected by age and biological sex, the compilation of various collagen transcripts can be used to define gingival health that is independent of age and biological sex.

First Page


Last Page


PubMed ID