𨯗lthough there is a clear relationship between the degree of obesity and periodontal disease, the mechanisms that underpin the links between these conditions were not completely understood,� says Keith Kirkwood, DDS, Ph.D., professor of oral biology in the UB School of Dental Medicine.
New research promotes the concept that the expansion of a group of immune cells regulated in any illness during obesity are transformed as bone destroying cells which progresses to a gum disease called periodontitis.
The study examined two groups of mice fed vastly different diets over 16 weeks: one group a low-fat diet that derived 10% of energy from fat, the other group a high-fat diet that drew 45% of energy from fat.
The investigation found that the high-fat diet group experienced obesity, more inflammation, and a greater increase of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC), a group of immune cells that increase during illness to regulate immune function in the bone marrow and spleen compared to the low-fat diet group.
The high-fat diet group also developed a significantly larger number of osteoclasts (a cell that breaks down bone tissue) and lost more alveolar bone (the bone that holds teeth in place).
Also, the expression of 27 genes tied to osteoclast formation was significantly elevated in the group fed a high-fat diet.
These findings shed more light on the mechanisms behind other chronic inflammatory, bone-related diseases that develop concurrently with obesity, such as gum disease, arthritis, and osteoporosis.