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Absence of Key Protein May Lead to Rapid Bone Loss

Based on the understanding that the tristetraprolin (TTP) protein is crucial to controlling inflammation, new research indicates that patients who lack TTP may be subject to rapid and severe bone loss.

Based on the understanding that the tristetraprolin (TTP) protein is crucial to controlling inflammation, new research indicates that patients who lack TTP may be subject to rapid and severe bone loss. Published in the Journal of Dental Research, the study, “Tristetraprolin Is Required for Alveolar Bone Homeostasis,” reports that mice without the gene experienced a nearly 20% loss in oral bone within 9 months.

Researchers at the University at Buffalo in New York studied TTP’s role in periodontitis in three groups of healthy mice: one without the gene to express TTP, a group whose genes overexpressed TTP, and a control group of unaffected mice. The presence of osteoclasts in oral tissue (cells that break down bone), oral bone levels, and inflammatory conditions were evaluated at 3-, 6-, and 9-month intervals. The investigators found that mice without the gene to express TTP developed periodontitis, arthritis, eczema, and other inflammatory conditions. In addition to having elevated osteoclast levels, the first group’s oral bone loss was measured at 14% at 3 months and 19% by 9 months—highest among the three groups.

The absence of TTP also altered the oral microbiome, which suggests systemic inflammation can affect bacterial composition within the oral cavity. Additional research is needed to determine if there was a shift toward more pathogenic microbes, or whether the new microflora had any role in bone loss. Although preliminary, these findings could lead to new therapeutic approaches to managing periodontitis and osteoporosis.

Hygiene Connection E-Newsletter
April 2018

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