In a new study from the University of Montreal, researchers found a human protein has potential benefits beyond oral and dental health.
Recent studies have shown that a protein present in the gingival epithelium (the part of the gums that surrounds the teeth) may have antimicrobial properties, in particular against the bacterium Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis).
This study shows that in addition to playing a big role in periodontal disease, this bacterium may also be linked to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
The study sheds new light on secretory calcium-binding phosphoprotein proline-glutamine rich 1 (SCPPPQ1), a protein expressed by the cells of the junctional epithelium (a component that is directly attached to the tooth surface).
This protein might offer an additional strategy for addressing the problem of bacterial resistance.
The oral environment is the second-most-important microbiome in the human body after the gut, to which it is closely linked.
Within the mouth, the junctional epithelium is the part of the gum that seals off the tooth-supporting tissues from the aggressive oral environment.
Briefly put, its role is to make the gum adhere to the tooth and thus limit the passage of bacteria between the two structures.
The team says the teeth are the only place where the integral envelope of the human body is penetrated, so they are a critical location for the entry of bacteria.
As researchers have known for some years, oral infection by P. gingivalis is one of the major risk factors for the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
So because SCPPPQ1 may slow the growth of this bacterium and even destroy it, scientists can attack the cause of problems at its source and help prevent more than one disease.
The next phases of the study will investigate in greater depth the potential for SCPPPQ1 to prevent periodontal disease—when added to toothpaste, for example—and evaluate its ability to destroy bacteria that have already penetrated the seal between the gum and the tooth.
If you care about dementia risk, please read studies about new light treatment that may slow down Alzheimer’s disease, and exercise training that could reduce risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about how to reduce frailty to lower dementia, and results showing this diet could reduce the risk of cognitive impairment, dementia.
The study is published in Scientific Reports and was conducted by Antonio Nanci et al.
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