“In a paper published on March 25 in Nature Immunology [doi:10.1038/ni.2260], a team of researchers reports on a potentially high-value new target in the fight against periodontal disease. The new lead is a glycoprotein called Del-1 that has the unique ability in animal studies to negatively regulate, or turn down, the inflammatory immune response, the body’s first line of defense. In the current Nature Immunology paper, NIDCR grantees and colleagues show for the first time in the gingiva that a breakdown in Del-1’s normal regulatory control of the immune-signaling protein IL-17 can drive the onset of periodontitis, particularly in aging.”

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