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A Study Links Alzheimer’s Oral Bacteria that Causes Gingivitis

Alzheimer’s may be linked in some way to oral health, since a recent study has found the bacterium Porphyromonas gingivalis has been found in patients’ brains.

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Alzheimer’s may be linked in some way to oral health, since a recent study has found the bacterium Porphyromonas gingivalis has been found in patients’ brains.

A recent research published in the Science Advances’ Journal, that the bacteria that cause gum disease – known as gingivitis – is present in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s, not just in the mouth. The study also finds that in mice the bacteria trigger brain changes typical of the disease. The bacteria is known as Porphyromonas gingivalis, whose action can lead to bone loss or collagen insertion.

“Infectious agents have been implicated in the development and progression of Alzheimer’s disease before, but the evidence for their causality has not been convincing,” revealed lead author Stephen Dominy, co-founder of the pharmaceutical company Cortexyme, behind the promotion of this study. Dominy has stressed that this is the first time that there is solid evidence linking “the gram-negative, intracellular pathogen, Pg, and the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s, while also demonstrating the potential of a class of small molecule therapies to change the path of the illness”.

In the models made with mice, oral infections of this bacterium led to colonization of the brain and an increased production of beta-amyloid protein, a component of amyloid plaques that has already been associated in other investigations with the onset of the disease neurodegenerative disease. In addition, toxic proteases were detected in the brains of the patients, enzymes that break the peptide bonds of proteins.

Preclinical experiments to block the neurotoxicity of the bacteria were based on small molecule therapies to eliminate these proteases. The inhibition by COR388 was able to reduce the bacterial load of a Porphyromonas gingivalis infection in the brain, blocking the production of beta-amyloid, decreasing neuronal inflation and protecting hippocampal neurons.

Another study published in PLOS ONE in October 2018 by a team at the University of Illinois at Chicago also found that an oral infection with P. gingivalis can cause amyloid accumulation and neurodegeneration in the brains of mice. Some scientists have stressed that the bacterium could be a contributing factor, but not the main cause of the onset of the disease.

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