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Certain genetic variations linked to tooth decay, periodontitis

November 02, 2017

In a second paper, published last week in PLoS One, Dr. Vieira, colleagues at Pitt and collaborators in Brazil studied saliva samples of 389 people in 55 families to look for genetic links to aggressive periodontitis, which is rapid and severe destruction of the gums and bone that starts at a young age and is thought to be more common in Africans and those of African descent. Brazil's population is composed primarily of Caucasians of Portuguese ancestry, Africans and native Indians.

They found hints of an association between the disease and the FAM5C gene. While further testing did not find any mutations or polymorphisms that bore out a relationship, other experiments showed elevated levels of FAM5C expression, or activation, in areas of diseased periodontal tissue compared to healthy tissue.

"The FAM5C gene recently was implicated in cardiovascular disease, in which inflammation plays a role, just as in periodontitis," Dr. Vieira said. "More research is needed to see if variation in the gene is associated with different activity profiles."

Source: University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences