BOB HIRSHON (host):
Taking a bite out of inflammation. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.
Periodontitis, a gum disease caused by excessive inflammation, eats away at bones in the jaw and can cause teeth to fall out. In the journal Science Translational Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Dental School microbiologist George Hajishengallis reports a protein called Del-1 may help.
GEORGE HAJISHENGALLIS (University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine):
Del 1 prevents periodontitis and can reverse periodontitis when it has started.
The work revealed that Del-1 reins in inflammation and polices cells that normally break down bone. Del-1 levels decrease with age and in certain diseases, but by restoring Del-1 levels, the researchers were able to reverse periodontitis in a mouse model of the disease. If the results can be translated to humans, Del-1 could also help treat other diseases associated with either inflammation or bone loss, like multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.