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A novel link between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease

Dr Danielle Kamato, Institution: The University of Queensland

2018 Postdoctoral Fellowship

Years funded: 2019-2022


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the largest single cause of death in Australia today. Research shows that patients with periodontal disease are almost twice as likely to have heart disease and for many Australians this hits close to home with 23% of all Australians having moderate or severe periodontal disease, while more than 4.2 million Australians have some form of CVD. With age there is an increase in the prevalence of both conditions.

Elucidation of the mechanisms relating periodontal disease and CVD will enable identification of a suitable therapeutic target. Preliminary data shows that a gram negative derived bacteria which is found in periodontal disease is a potent stimulator of the modification of a molecule called proteoglycan. Proteoglycans are found in the vessel wall and contain a highly negatively charged carbohydrate component which becomes elongated.

The elongation of this component increases the stickiness for the cholesterol that passes through the vessel wall allowing lipids to accumulate in the vessel wall to initiate plaque development. This project will seek to identify the biological mechanisms that link the bacteria which is leaked into the circulatory system from gums and its contribution to the formation of CVD, once the mechanisms is better understood this will allow for future drug development.

This project is co-funded with NHMRC - National Health and Medical Research Council.

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