Dental immune system remembers. Often this memory, primed by past encounters with threats like bacteria or viruses, is an asset. But when that memory is sparked by internal drivers, like chronic inflammation, it can prove detrimental, perpetuating a misguided immune response.
In a new paper in Cell, researchers from the Penn Dental Medicine, together with an international team at the Technical University of Dresden, lay out the mechanism by which innate immune memory can cause one type of inflammatory condition—in this example, gum disease—to increase susceptibility to another—here, arthritis—through alterations to immune cell precursors in the bone marrow.
In a mouse model, the team demonstrated that recipients of a bone marrow transplant were predisposed to more severe arthritis if their donor had inflammatory gum disease.
“Although we use periodontitis and arthritis as our model, our findings go beyond these examples,” says George Hajishengallis , a professor at Penn Dental Medicine and a corresponding author on the work.