Periodontal Disease Increases Inflammation and Cardiovascular Disease Risk

Boxi Zhang  PhD Student  School of Health and Medical Sciences Örebro University Interview with:
Boxi Zhang  PhD Student 
School of Health and Medical Sciences
Örebro University  

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: In the past decade, many studies raise concerns about the increased prevalence of cardiovascular disease and mortality among patients with periodontitis. Porphyromonas gingivalis is the major pathogen causing periodontal disease. This bacterium also plays a significant role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. In this study, we infect human aortic smooth cells with P. gingivalis and show that this periodontal pathogen affects gene and protein expression in human aortic smooth muscle cells associated with increased inflammation and atherosclerosis.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: Periodontal disease might be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The specific mechanisms at a molecular level that we found in this study are also vital to understand how periodontal pathogens induced other systemic diseases. People should pay more attention to oral health.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Gingipains are the important virulence factors that are produced by P. gingivalis. In this study, we have found that gingipains have a crucial role in P. gingivalis induced inflammatory response in AoSMCs. The proteolytic fragments formed by gingipains can probably be used as diagnostic biomarkers and inhibition of gingipain activity may be a successful strategy for treatment.


Infect Immun. 2015 Aug 17. pii: IAI.00498-15. [Epub ahead of print]

Gingipains from the periodontal pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis play a significant role in regulation of Angiopoietin 1 and Angiopoietin 2 in human aortic smooth muscle cells.

Zhang B1, Khalaf H2, Sirsjö A2, Bengtsson T2.

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Boxi Zhang PhD Student (2015). Periodontal Disease Increases Inflammation and Cardiovascular Disease Risk