Gum infections bacteria linked to Alzheimer’s disease

Published - January 27, 2019 12:02 am IST

An enzyme secreted from the bacterial pathogen, Porphyromonas gingivalis , which is known to cause gum infections in humans, may also contribute to Alzheimer’s disease (AD), according to scientists in the U.S. who analysed brain tissues from AD patients. This problematic enzyme (known as gingipains) can be blocked in the brain with orally bio-available small-molecule inhibitors, the scientists went on to show in mice. The results suggest that treatment with a potent gingipain inhibitor can reduce P. gingivalis infection in the brain, which may potentially slow the neurodegeneration that characterises the brains of AD patients. P. gingivalis is a bacterial pathogen responsible for chronic periodontitis, a gum infection that can lead to tooth loss.

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