Mice get fresh science

Sore gums and sore bones—not a happy mouse.

Adelaide scientists have found that mice with gum disease develop worse arthritis.

The scientists are using this knowledge to investigate whether treating mouth conditions could help relieve arthritis.

As part of her PhD studies, Melissa Cantley worked with colleagues at the University of Adelaide to develop a new way to study these two diseases and their relationship. She is presenting her research this week as part of Fresh Science—a national program for early career scientists.

“In this model we can induce gum disease in mice using a type of bacteria associated with human disease,” Melissa said.

“We can then induce inflammatory arthritis to better understand how one disease influences another,” she said.

“We found that mice with gum disease developed worse arthritis.”

Studies have shown that patients with rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to suffer tooth loss than those without. This is often associated with periodontal disease. More than 60 per cent of the world’s population suffers from periodontitis.

The research also found signs of bone loss in the joints of mice with gum disease alone and bone loss in the jaws of mice with arthritis along. Not only did the gum disease influence joint tissues, but arthritis also influenced tiussues in the mouth,” Melissa said.

“The relationship between these two common diseases is very complex and we can now use this model to further our understanding,” she said.

Transition to clinical studies is underway to determine if treatment of periodontitis can help reduce the symptoms associated with arthritis.



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  1. “The relationship between these two common diseases is very complex” – actually no it’s not!

    The underlying process of tissue destruction and pathological changes from inflammation and chronic degenerative diseases is well established – oxidative stress and free-radical damage!

    Regardless of where this process occurs in the body (the gums, the joints), the underlying mechanism is the same and there is clear research showing the regular use of pharmaceutical grade nutritional supplements & anti-oxidants will go a long way to protecting patients against these conditions. It is not that these particular conditions are linked – they are simply the result of a deeper process that goes unchecked.

    The reason “More than 60 per cent of the world’s population suffers from periodontitis” and why arthritis is so prevalent is because of a lack of optimal nutrition – we lecture on this topic extensively and you can read more at http://www.holthealth.com.

    It has been clearly established that modern periodontal treatment protocols should be including antioxidant use as standard to combat the free-radical damage which leads to soft and hard tissue destruction.

    Trying to make a superficial link between two diseases as being cause and effect is naive – they are both the result of underlying oxidative stress on the body and that is where treatment should be targeted.

  2. “Where treatment should be targeted” is in my opinion to remedy the horrific expectation that “More than 60 per cent of the world’s population suffers from periodontitis” and we are going to allow this preventable problem to continue! Surely ameliorating soft and hard tissue destruction with antioxidant use is tip of the iceberg when our evidence base is so limited that even the derigueur flossing benefits have been put in severe doubt by the Cochrane meta-analysis.


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