Alzheimer’s disease: the oral bacteria hypothesis | Gencix

Alzheimer’s disease: the oral bacteria hypothesis

Despite decades of medical research, the causes of Alzheimer's disease are still unknown. However, numerous risk factors have been identified, such as: age, genetic predispositions, lack of physical and intellectual activity...

A few months apart, two studies have pointed out an original track: toxic proteins produced by a bacterium, Porphyromonas gingivalis, responsible for gingivitis and periodontitis (that is to say, when the gum and the jawbone are attacked).

In a recent article published in Plos One, researcher Keiko Watanabe (University of Illinois) showed that mice with chronic periodontitis developed a disease strongly resembling Alzheimer's.

This theory was studied for several years by Cortexyme, a Californian pharmaceutical start up. According to a study published in Science Advances by Cortexyme’s researchers, the toxic proteins emitted by the bacteria, called gingipains, can be found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.

Most importantly, their concentration is thought to be proportional to the accumulation of an abnormal form of the Tau protein, which is one of the Alzheimer's symptoms. Cortexyme’s lab has developed inhibitors of these proteins in order to block their action. On neurons that were cultured in-vitro, this product is believed to have a neuroprotective effect. 2nd and 3rd phases of clinical trials (directly on sick people) are due to start in the second half of 2019.

Regarding Alzheimer's, so many promising trails have proved disappointing and therefore, this new appealing approach must be taken cautiously into account.

by Philippe Richard
31 January 2019

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