“An international team of researchers has used the endothelial protein DEL1 to treat periodontitis in mice.1 Despite the therapeutic angle, the near-term utility of DEL1 is more likely to be as a diagnostic and risk marker for the disease.

Periodontitis results from a chronic inflammatory response to bacterial plaque and tartar deposits on the teeth. The consequent neutrophil infiltration of the gingiva (gums) damages gingival tissues and tooth-supporting alveolar bone, which leads to tooth loss.

Treatment of the condition involves lengthy and expensive procedures to remove the deposits and may be accompanied by local use of antibiotics to kill bacteria and/or systemic treatment with low doses of the generic antibiotic doxycycline. Low-dose doxycycline does not have antimicrobial properties and instead reduces bone damage by inhibiting the tissue-damaging matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) secreted by neutrophils in the gingiva.”

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