Analysis of brain tissue, spinal fluid, and saliva from persons with Alzheimer’s Disease indicates the presence of Porphyromonas gingivalis (the bacterium associated with chronic gum disease) in the brain and central nervous system. Animal research using mice indicates that the same bacterium is able to travel from the mouth into the brain; whereby the toxic gingipain protein which it secretes appears to destroy neurons and increase production of amyloid beta (associated with Alzheimer’s Disease).
There are early indications that the use of drugs to block the toxic gingipain protein appears to halt neurodegeneration in the brains of mice.
“ …gingipain inhibitors could be valuable for treating P. gingivalis brain colonization and neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease”.
New experimental drugs for use in humans, and clinical trials, are said to be planned.
Does gum disease have a key role in Alzheimer’s? London: BBC Health News, January 24th 2019.
This relates to:
Dominy, SS. Lynch, C. [and] Ermini, F. [et al] (2019). Porphyromonas gingivalis in Alzheimer’s disease brains: evidence for disease causation and treatment with small-molecule inhibitors. Science Advances, 5(1), eaau3333. January 23rd 2019. [Epub ahead of print].
An NHS Choices Behind the Headlines critical appraisal explores some of the uncertainties remaining about this research.
Gum disease linked to Alzheimer’s, study claims. London: NHS Digital / NHS Choices; Behind the Headlines, January 24th 2019.