Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Breaking Bones

Gum disease bacterium implicated in impairing bone regeneration after injury

06 February 2020

Breaking Bones

Sore gums and painful chewing are signs P. gingivalis has got the better of you. This bacterium is the main culprit in gum disease, which is a risk factor for another disease, rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Patients with RA are prone to fractures and these take longer to heal as their bone struggles to regenerate. Researchers now investigate whether P. gingivalis further impairs bone regeneration in RA using a mouse model of the disease. The leg bones of normal and RA mice were damaged; half were orally infected with P. gingivalis. Leg bone density, as a reflection of bone regeneration, was measured using microCT (pictured) 2 and 4 weeks later (top and bottom). P. gingivalis and RA each separately reduced bone regeneration (second and third columns) compared to normal mice (first column) but together this effect was enhanced (fourth column). Gum disease treatments may, therefore, be useful in helping RA patients recover from fractures faster.

Written by Lux Fatimathas

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