Posts tagged: Porphyromonas gingivalis

Mice Help Explain the Mystery of Bacterium’s Role in Periodontitis

Up until recently it has been a bit of a mystery as to how common oral bacteria such as P. gingivalis, A. actinomycetemcomitans, and T. fosythia, were able to wreak such havoc in the mouth. Scientists have pondered for years how exactly they were able to trigger periodontitis, despite being present in relatively low numbers in the sub gingival crevice. Now researchers have discovered that the common oral bacteria P. gingivalis is able to reprogram the immune cells that normally protect the sub gingival crevice, into creating conditions it finds more favourable.

The reprogrammed immune cells effectively persuade more immune cells to follow their lead, prompting the usually benign bacterial residents of the sub gingival crevice to rise up and defend their realm, which in turn leads to inflammation of the supportive structures of the tooth. Prior to this research it had often been thought that P. gingivalis was directly responsible for the infection, but it now seems likely that it just sits back to watch the destruction unfold, waiting to feed off the nutrients generated by the inflammation.

George Hajishengallis, D.D.S., Ph.D., a researcher at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry was a co-lead author on the study which was supported by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, and has commented that this research is important as it is the first documented case of a keystone species being discovered in microbiology. The term keystone species was first invented in the late 1960s and is a species which is present in low numbers but which is able to exert a disproportionate influence on its environment. P. gingivalis, a common oral bacteria, would seem to be a perfect example as it is able to change the microbial environment creating conditions favourable for periodontitis to develop.

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New Study Shows Normal Bacteria Could Be Catalyst for Gum Disease

New research conducted by Queen Mary University of London has given an interesting insight into the way normal bacteria affect the development of gum disease, and could lead to new preventative measures being developed through manipulating these bacteria to help protect the gums.

The study was conducted on mice living in two separate test conditions. One set of mice had normal bacteria in their mouths, while the other mice were raised to be free from bacteria. Small amounts of Porphyromonas gingivalis, a bacteria commonly found in the oral cavity, was introduced to both sets of mice. The mice with normal bacteria in their mouths subsequently developed periodontal bone loss, while those who had previously had bacteria free mouths remained free of the disease.

Scientists found that the presence of P. gingivalis stimulated the growth of normal bacteria, which had a major effect on the inflammatory and immune system of the mice. It appears that even a small amount of P. gingivalis can have an almost disproportionate influence on the severity of gum disease that develops. It now seems that periodontal disease develops when P. gingivalis interacts with existing bacteria, and that these existing bacteria are needed for this to occur. Read more »

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