Newly discovered bacterium may have a role in gingival disease
Researchers at the University of Michigan have identified a bacterium commonly present in the oral flora of rats that they called NI1060. This bacterium is associated with the development of a model of periodontitis in rats. The researchers found that NI1060 accumulated at sites where gum tissue was damaged and activated a protein in the buccal cavity that stimulates bone-destroying cells. Under normal circumstances, this protein, Nod1, fights harmful bacteria in the body. "Nod1 is a part of our mechanisms of protection against bacterial infection," says corresponding author Noahiro Lnohara, Ph.D., associate professor of research at University of Michigan Health System, Ann Harbor. "It helps us fight infection by recruiting neutrophils, blood cells that act as bacterial killers, and it also removes harmful bacteria during infection." However, in the case of periodontitis, the accumulation of NI1060 stimulates Nod1 to activate neutrophils and osteoclasts, bone-destroying cells in the oral cavity. "
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