View high resolution
The red, painful gums and bone destruction of periodontal disease could be effectively treated by beckoning regulatory T-cells to the site, according to a new animal study. The findings offer a new therapeutic paradigm to treating the disease which affects millions.
The current strategy to address the disease involves regular oral care & dental cleanings to control the bacteria that can trigger severe inflammation. But as co-author and co-investigator Charles Sfeir, D.D.S., Ph.D. explains, “that strategy doesn’t address the real cause of the problem, which is an overreaction of the immune system that causes a needlessly aggressive response to the presence of oral bacteria.”
In this work, the researchers designed a system of polymer microspheres to slowly release a chemokine, a signaling protein, called CCL22 that attracts regulatory T-cells, and placed tiny amounts of the paste-like agent between the gums and teeth of animals with periodontal disease. The team found that even though the amount of bacteria was unchanged, the treatment led to improvements of standard measures of periodontal disease.
Read more: http://bit.ly/16sF4G6
Publication: Prevention of inflammation-mediated bone loss in murine and canine periodontal disease via recruitment of regulatory lymphocytes. PNAS, 2013. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1302829110
Image: False coloured light micrograph of Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans colonies. The Gram-neagtive A. actinomycetemcomitans is commonly found to cause infections of the oral cavity and is often isolated from the periodontal pocket.
Image credit: Derren Ready, Wellcome Images