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J Alzheimers Dis Rep. 2018 Dec 20;2(1):219-228. doi: 10.3233/ADR-180080.

Are Porphyromonas gingivalis Outer Membrane Vesicles Microbullets for Sporadic Alzheimer's Disease Manifestation?

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Dementia and Neurodegenerative Diseases Research Group, Faculty of Clinical and Biomedical Sciences, School of Dentistry, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK.
Department of Oral Biology, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.


Our research into Alzheimer's disease (AD) focuses on the oral cavity and the brain, from which key evaluations of prospective and retrospective population-based data have shown that chronic periodontal disease existing for ten-years or over doubles the risk for the sporadic form of AD. Furthermore, Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis) mono-infections in established periodontal lesions, or introducing its lipopolysachharide (LPS), as demonstrated in in vivo studies, show hallmark pathology inclusive of extracellular amyloid plaques and phospho-tau bound neurofibrillary tangles with AD-like phenotype. Other studies have shown that if periodontitis remains untreated in human AD patients, cognitive decline ensues. This is a bi-directional relationship meaning that the converse is also true; treating periodontal disease in AD patients improves memory. Bacterial cultures and established oral biofilms generate vast numbers of microvesicles and P. gingivalis outer membrane vesicles encase key virulence factors (LPS, gingipains, capsule, fimbriae) as though they are complete destructive "microbullets" when shed in the host. This provides P. gingivalis additional arsenal to manipulate its entry into disparate organs, hijack phagocytosis, destroy tissues, and affect complement related genes while transducing the onset of proinflammatory signaling cascades. The resulting inflammatory mediators may be the cause of disease defining lesions and cognitive decline typical of clinical AD.


Alzheimer’s disease; P. gingivalis; microbullets; outer membrane vesicles; periodontitis

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