Massachusetts: New research revealed that untreated or poorly managed periodontal disease caused by Fusobacterium nucleatum could increase symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.
The research undertaken by the researchers of Tufts University reveals a relationship between F. nucleatum and Alzheimer's disease.
Periodontal disease and Alzheimer's
Fusobacterium nucleatum, commonly referred to as F. nucleatum, is the bacterium responsible for periodontal disease. If the gums and jawbone are compromised, a lack of therapy could result in tooth loss. In recent years, F. nucleatum has been associated with various conditions, including colorectal cancer and premature birth.
The study explores that F. nucleatum is associated with an abnormal expansion of microglial cells in mice. This type of immune cell is present in the brain and usually is responsible for eradicating damaged neurons and infections, as well as contributing to the health and well-being of this region of the nervous system. Moreover, as per the research, a high number of microglial cells was also associated with greater inflammatory response. Cognitive impairment is likely to be aggravated by persistent inflammation or infection as Alzheimer's disease advances.
A word of caution to those working in science and medicine
According to the findings, F. nucleatum impairs the memory and cognition of mice by altering a range of signalling pathways, leading the team to suspect that it can impair mice's memory and cognition. It should serve as a warning to both researchers and physicians.
According to Jake Jinkun Chen, professor of periodontology and dean of the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, this is the first study to demonstrate that F. nucleatum can generate systemic inflammation and even infiltrate nervous system tissues which can exacerbate the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. He also indicated that inflammation accompanies numerous chronic illnesses, such as Type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer's.
Chen adds that the effects of F. nucleatum on periodontal disease and Alzheimer's could be assessed and treated using a bacterial load and symptom severity test. This approach could one day be used to assess the benefits of slowing down both periodontal disease and Alzheimer's.
The study 'The Periodontal Pathogen Fusobacterium nucleatum Exacerbates Alzheimer's Pathogenesis via Specific Pathways' has recently been published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.