What is it about?

A mixed in vivo model of periodontal diseases and depression exerted increased gingival inflammation, alveolar bone loss, depressive-like phenotype, and inflammatory response in the brain of the animals with both diseases. Besides, Fusobacterium nucleatum (a bacteria usually present in periodontitis) was detected only in the brain of some of these rats.

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Why is it important?

This finding suggests the presence of living bacteria responsible for periodontitis or some of their structural components in the brain of rats exposed to both periodontal diseases and depression models. The immune system might recognize them as strange and could contribute to the neuroinflammation already described in psychiatric pathologies. If confirmed, this opens the door to new preventive/therapeutical strategies for depressive disorder or other illnesses related to the central nervous system.


Although a growing body of evidence indicates depression may be associated with periodontal diseases, the literature is still controversial, raising questions whether periodontal diseases are a cause, or consequence, or just a concurrence of depression. Future preclinical and clinical research should shed light on the bidirectional potential of the relationship between both pathologies.

David Martín Hernández
Gregorio Marañón Health Research Institute

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This page is a summary of: Periodontal diseases and depression: A pre‐clinical in vivo study, Journal Of Clinical Periodontology, February 2021, Wiley, DOI: 10.1111/jcpe.13420.
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