BackgroundThis study was conducted in order to explore the effects of orthodontic tooth movement (OTM) on the changes of salivary proteome. This prospective observational pilot study recruited 12 healthy teenage boys with malocclusion treated with a fixed orthodontic appliance and 6 appropriate control participants. Saliva samples were collected a day before and at 0, 2, 7, and 30 days after initialization of treatment, corresponding to the initial, lag, and post-lag phases of OTM. Pooled samples were analyzed by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, ELISA, and Western blotting. To date, there is no published data on the presence of BMP molecules or their antagonists in the saliva or in the gingival cervical fluid related to orthodontic conditions.ResultsA total of 198 identified saliva proteins were classified based on their functional characteristics. Proteins involved in bone remodeling were observed exclusively 30 days post appliance placement, including bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4), a BMP antagonist BMP-binding endothelial regulator, insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 3, cytoskeleton-associated protein 4, and fibroblast growth factor 5. Based on the analysis of protein interactions, BMP4 was found to have a central position in this OTM-related protein network.ConclusionsThe placement of a fixed orthodontic appliance induced occurrence of proteins involved in bone remodeling in the saliva at a time corresponding to the post-lag period of OTM. Limitations of this study include a relatively small sample size, limited time of monitoring patients, and the lack of interindividual variability assessment.