Periodontal disease results in a loss of gingival tissue, periodontal ligament, and is a major contributor to tooth loss in adults. It is estimated that nearly 50% of the adult population in the United States is affected by periodontal disease. Experimental animal models for periodontal disease are essential for understanding the origin and evolution of the pathology in humans and are utilized for pre-clinical development of new therapeutics. Mice are attractive models for studying periodontal disease because of their small size, short life cycle, cost of maintenance, and availability of genetically engineered strains. However, the current techniques of ligature-induced periodontitis make it difficult to place the ligature around the molar due to the size of the murine oral cavity, the operating procedure can cause severe mechanical trauma to gingival tissue, and there is a lack of induction of the host inflammatory response in germ free mice, which makes it difficult to study human oral bacteria in vivo. Additionally, other mouse models for studying periodontal disease pathogenesis are not able to control when disease will initiate or do not use the oral cavity in the model, making it difficult to evaluate gingival and periodontal host responses.
Researchers from the Adams School of Dentistry at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill have developed an effective and easy to use system for controlled and repeatable ligature-induced periodontitis in mice. This system includes a surgical bed and ligature holder, which are fabricated by 3D printing with a filament such as polylactic acid. The ligature holder is designed to fasten a sterile silk suture with the appropriate tension for periodontal induction. The surgical bed has been developed with a specific geometric design to accommodate the positioning of the mouse on its back, which makes the head and mouth readily accessible for ligature-induced periodontitis. In addition, the surgical bed contains hooks for placing elastic bands to prop open the mouth of the mouse while anesthetized. Through use of this system the technical challenge and time required for placing the ligature between the desired teeth is reduced, and mechanical trauma to gingival tissue is mitigated, allowing the mouse to fully recover. Additionally, the role of human oral bacteria colonization and induction of host immune responses can be studied in germ free mice with this system through direct inoculation with human oral bacteria.
Files to enable 3D printing of the Surgical Bed and/or Ligature Holder are available for licensing by following the appropriate link to the right. Once your request and payment are verified, a copy of the 3D printing file for the Surgical Bed and/or Ligature Holder will be emailed to you at the email address provided.
- An experimental murine model to study periodontitis Marchesan, J., Girnary, M.S., Jing, L. et al. An experimental murine model to study periodontitis. Nat Protoc 13, 2247–2267 (2018).