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Research Highlights

Professor CHOI Bong Kyu Finds a Cause of Periodontitis

  • June 25, 2012
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A team of researchers led by Professor CHOI Bong Kyu of SNU's School of Dentistry published a paper that showed a cause of periodontitis, a type of gum diseases, in the prestigious immunology journal 'Immunity' on May 25.

Periodontitis is an infectious disease arising from germs in gums. As a consequence, one's gums might swell up in red or bleed, or teeth might even fall out. It has been known that periodontitis is caused by the excessive immune reaction of mouth spirilla in gums. However, the precise mechanism has been remained unknown.
The team led by Choi found the cause of the infection by observing through microscopes the process that a variety of proteins react when mouth spirilla invade cells. As a result, the team showed that the surface proteins of mouth spirilla excessively activate cytokine by using the protein 'Integrin', which help the proliferation and the division of cells. In other words, the surface proteins unnecessarily activate cytokine to destroy cellular tissues and cause gum infections.

Professor Choi said "We might be able to make a new medicine for periodontitis if we find a way to prevent the surface proteins of mouth spirilla to combine with integrin, or if we can inactivate those proteins."

Written By PARK Ziho, SNU English Editor,
Proofread by Brett Johnson, SNU English Editor,
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