Scientists confirm the link between gum disease and diabetes

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Gum disease, also known as periodontitis (PD), is a common problem for people with diabetes (DM).

Even though this connection can have big effects on a person’s health, the details of how these two conditions affect each other have been hard to understand.

Earlier research focused on the gums didn’t fully explain how diabetes and gum disease are connected throughout the body.

A groundbreaking study from South Korea, led by Assistant Professor Yun Hak Kim at Pusan National University, is changing how we understand the relationship between gum disease and diabetes.

Published in Clinical and Translational Medicine, this study uses a cutting-edge method called single-cell RNA analysis to look closely at the immune system’s response at a cellular level.

So, what did they find out about the connection between these conditions?

The researchers looked at blood samples from healthy people, people with gum disease, and people with both gum disease and type 2 diabetes.

By examining the blood cells one by one, they could see how these conditions affect the immune system in detailed ways.

They discovered that in people with gum disease and those with both gum disease and diabetes, certain immune cells called classical monocytes were more active, producing more inflammation-causing proteins.

Diabetes also seemed to affect T cells, a type of white blood cell important for the immune system.

The study found that in people with diabetes, CD4+ T cells (a subtype of T cells) were less active, showing that diabetes can have a wide-ranging effect on the body’s ability to fight infections.

Additionally, the study found that diabetes and gum disease together could weaken the function of CD8+ T cells and natural killer (NK) cells, another group of cells that help the body defend against infections.

An interesting finding was the role of a pathway called RESISTIN, which is linked to insulin resistance, a common problem in diabetes.

This pathway was more active in people with gum disease and those with both conditions, suggesting that it could be a key connection between gum disease and diabetes.

The presence of RESISTIN in people with gum disease but without other diseases also points to its role in causing inflammation and suggests it could be a target for treatments to lower the risk of diabetes in people with gum disease.

Dr. Kim’s study suggests that treating gum disease might help control blood sugar levels and reduce the chance of developing diabetes.

This discovery could have big implications for healthcare, research, public health, and the overall well-being of people.

In summary, this innovative research offers a new understanding of how gum disease and type 2 diabetes are connected at the immune level.

Using advanced technology to study individual cells, the researchers have opened up new possibilities for treating and preventing diabetes in people with gum disease.

This study not only improves our knowledge of these conditions but also suggests new ways to tackle them, potentially helping millions of people worldwide.

If you care about gum health, please read studies about an important causes of tooth decay and gum disease, and common tooth disease that may increase risks of dementia.

For more information about gum health, please see recent studies about mouthwash that may increase your tooth damage, and results showing this diet could help treat gum disease.

The research findings can be found in Clinical and Translational Medicine.

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