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Oral Pathogen Linked to Periodontitis Boosts Heart Disease Risk
A. actinomycetemcomitans, an oral pathogen that causes periodontitis, raises cardiovascular (CVD) risk by increasing blood serum levels of human heat-shock protein 60 (HSP60), researchers said here at the 76th Congress of the European Atherosclerosis Society (EAS).

HELSINKI, FINLAND -- June 12, 2007 -- A. actinomycetemcomitans, an oral pathogen that causes periodontitis, raises cardiovascular (CVD) risk by increasing blood serum levels of human heat-shock protein 60 (HSP60), researchers said here at the 76th Congress of the European Atherosclerosis Society (EAS).


Serum antibodies to human heat-shock protein 60 (HSP60) have been shown to be elevated in CVD, and A. actinomycetemcomitans may also contribute to elevated serum antibodies to human HSP60, according to lead investigator Susanna Paju, DDS, PhD, Research Associate in Oral Biology, Institute of Dentistry, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland. "High serum antibodies to periodontal pathogens predict a risk for coronary heart disease and stroke, and our present study shows that they can also relate to elevated immune response against the host," Dr. Paju said.


In order to study the relationship between serum antibody levels to human HSP60 and to A. actinomycetemcomitans in acute coronary syndrome (ACS) patients, Dr. Paju and colleagues monitored A. actinomycetemcomitans levels in the saliva of 141 patients with ACS, using polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The investigators also determined serum antibody levels to A. actinomycetemcomitans and to human HSP60. Measurements were taken at baseline, after one week, 3 months, and one year.


The researchers found that serum HSP60 antibody levels did not differ significantly between A. actinomycetemcomitans PCR-negative and PCR-positive patients; however, serum antibody levels to A. actinomycetemcomitans and human HSP60 had a positive correlation with each other. Furthermore, mean serum antibody levels to human HSP60 were significantly higher at baseline, after one week, three months, and at one year in A. actinomycetemcomitans seropositive patients than in seronegative patients.


Based on these results, the researchers concluded that systemic exposure to A. actinomycetemcomitans, but not its presence in saliva, is related to elevated serum antibody levels to human HSP60 in patients with ACS.


"Although cross-reactivity between bacteria and host has been observed before, the novelty of our research is that we show in human subjects with acute coronary syndrome that periodontitis and cardiovascular diseases may be connected via cross-reactivity of immune response against pathogens and host" Dr. Paju noted. "If periodontal pathogens are able to raise both specific and nonspecific immune response in serum, it would explain the mechanism why people with gum infections are at higher risk for cardiovascular diseases," she added. "Therefore, periodontal examination and treatment needs should be taken into account when assessing cardiovascular risk," Dr. Paju concluded.


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Oral Pathogen Linked to Periodontitis Boosts Heart Disease Risk
A. actinomycetemcomitans, an oral pathogen that causes periodontitis, raises cardiovascular (CVD) risk by increasing blood serum levels of human heat-shock protein 60 (HSP60), researchers said here at the 76th Congress of the European Atherosclerosis Society (EAS).

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Tooth Extraction and Tooth Brushing Both Produce Bacteraemia of Endocarditis-Related Pathogens.
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