“In a new study, scientists at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) have discovered that a protein previously shown to treat gum disease also blocks relapses in mice with a condition similar to multiple sclerosis (MS).

The leap from experimenting on gum disease to investigating the effects of this protein, called Del-1, on MS came when researches realized that it plays a key role in the body’s immune response. In their earlier work, the research team, led by George Hajishengallis, a professor of microbiology at Penn’s School of Dental Medicine, discovered that Del-1 was missing in mice that were given the mouse model of gum disease, or periodontitis. Why?

The immune system is the body’s complex defense mechanism. When a threat is detected — whether it’s a virus, bacteria, an insect bite, or even a foreign object like a splinter — the immune system goes into action, sending cells to the site of the injury.”

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