It is a simple oral bacterium … with potentially devastating effects. A group of American researchers identified in the brains of deceased patients with Alzheimer's diseasetraces of bacteria that causes chronic periodontitis, inflammation that destroys the gums and bones that carry teeth.
Although this is not the first time that there is a link between oral health and Alzheimer's disease, this new study supports this hypothesis a little more.
Molecule in experiment
From its Latin name, Porphyromonas gingivalis produces toxic proteins called gingipain. However, researchers have identified more in the brains of Alzheimer's patients than in patients who are not ill, they explain in their article, published in January in the journal Scientific achievements,
The authors of this study also noted that gingipain in mice resulted in an increase in beta-amyloid protein in the brain. In people with Alzheimer's disease, this protein accumulates in the plaques between the brain cells and prevents them properly communicate with each other.
To fix this, a team of researchers developed a molecule called COR388 that can inhibit gingipain. In a mouse test, they managed to reduce the level of this toxic protein. The California laboratory that oversaw this research and development of this molecule now hopes to quickly test the effect of this molecule on humans.