Periodontal diseases and depression: A pre‐clinical in vivo study

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Aim: To analyse, through a pre-clinical in vivo model, the possible mechanisms linking depression and periodontitis at behavioural, microbiological and molecular levels. Materials and methods: Periodontitis (P) was induced in Wistar:Han rats (oral gavages with Porphyromonas gingivalis and Fusobacterium nucleatum) during 12 weeks, followed by a 3-week period of Chronic Mild Stress (CMS) induction. Four groups (n = 12 rats/group) were obtained: periodontitis and CMS (P+CMS+); periodontitis without CMS; CMS without periodontitis; and control. Periodontal clinical variables, alveolar bone levels (ABL), depressive-like behaviour, microbial counts and expression of inflammatory mediators in plasma and brain frontal cortex (FC), were measured. ANOVA tests were applied. Results: The highest values for ABL occurred in the P+CMS+ group, which also presented the highest expression of pro-inflammatory mediators (TNF-α, IL-1β and NF-kB) in frontal cortex, related to the lipoprotein APOA1-mediated transport of bacterial lipopolysaccharide to the brain and the detection of F. nucleatum in the brain parenchyma. A dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal stress axis, reflected by the increase in plasma corticosterone and glucocorticoid receptor levels in FC, was also found in this group. Conclusions: Neuroinflammation induced by F. nucleatum (through a leaky mouth) might act as the linking mechanism between periodontal diseases and depression.
Martínez M, Martín-Hernández D, Virto L, MacDowell KS, Montero E, González-Bris Á, Marín MJ, Ambrosio N, Herrera D, Leza JC, Sanz M, García-Bueno B, Figuero E. Periodontal diseases and depression: A pre-clinical in vivo study. J Clin Periodontol. 2021 Apr;48(4):503-527. doi: 10.1111/jcpe.13420. PMID: 33432590.