Bacteria Responsible for Gum Disease Facilitates Rheumatoid Arthritis, University of Louisville Study

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Does gum disease indicate future joint problems? Although researchers and clinicians have long known about an association between two prevalent chronic inflammatory diseases -- periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) -- the microbiological mechanisms have remained unclear. In an article published today in PLoS Pathogens, University of Louisville School of Dentistry Oral Health and Systemic Diseases group researcher Jan Potempa, PhD, DSc, and an international team of scientists from the European Union's Gums and Joints project have uncovered how the bacterium responsible for periodontal disease, Porphyromonas gingivalisworsens RA by leading to earlier onset, faster progression and greater severity of the disease, including increased bone and cartilage destruction.

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