Cholesterol-Lowering Statins Found To Combat Gum Disease Inflammation –


đŸ’¡What to know:

  • Statins have shown the ability to reduce harmful gum inflammation.



  • poison Simvastatin Inhibit macrophage inflammatory response.



  • Gum disease has previously been linked to a higher risk of heart disease.

Charleston, South Carolina— Statins are commonly used to help patients treat high cholesterol, but new research suggests they may also benefit oral health. A study using cell cultures from the Medical University of South Carolina School of Dental Medicine details how statins block the inflammation associated with periodontal disease by changing the behavior of specific types of immune cells called macrophages.

Statins are the number one most commonly prescribed drug in the United States today. More than 40 million Americans take statins to lower cholesterol. Scientists now believe statins can improve gum health while reducing the risk of heart disease.

“During our study, we replicated the specific conditions of periodontal disease and demonstrated that introducing statins in our in vitro model can alter macrophage responses,” said Subramanya Pandruvada, assistant professor at the Medical University of South Carolina School of Dentistry. “This allows us to explore how drugs such as statins can help us treat inflammatory diseases such as periodontal disease. “

Periodontal disease is the growth of bacteria in the gums, causing an inflammatory response in the immune system. These developments often lead to symptoms such as swelling, bleeding, and bone deterioration. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, half of adults over the age of 30 have some form of gum disease.

Dentist patient checking teeth and gums
Periodontal disease is the growth of bacteria in the gums, causing an inflammatory response in the immune system. (Photo by Caroline LM on Unsplash)

Current treatments for advanced periodontal disease include antibiotics, deep cleaning of the tooth and root surfaces, and a variety of surgical procedures. However, medical researchers have long been looking for new ways to alleviate gum disease using less invasive treatments.

Previous research has shown that people who take statins generally show fewer symptoms of periodontitis than those who don't take statins. However, this latest report is the first to trace the biochemical pathways through which statins appear to reduce periodontal inflammation.

“Recent periodontal literature suggests that statins have beneficial effects when combined with traditional periodontal therapy,” explains Professor Pandruvada. “However, our study highlights a new way in which statins specifically affect macrophages, and through this mechanism, could help treat periodontal disease.”

Macrophages play an important role in the body's fight against infection. However, they can also exacerbate inflammation, depending on the form they take during the various stages of the immune response. In this project, the study authors cultured macrophages and gum cells together and eventually exposed them to various conditions.This resulted in the observed exposure to SimvastatinA common statin drug appears to suppress the inflammatory response of macrophages.

Going forward, the study authors hope to study the effects of statins on periodontal disease in animal models. They say this will be a critical step in ultimately determining whether the strategy can become a safe and effective method of periodontal treatment in the future.

The scientists presented their findings at Discover BMB, the annual meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

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