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Scientists from Boston University have uncovered a family of biologically active products of omega-3 fatty acids with the therapeutic potential to resolve periodontal inflammation and restore the health of gums. These resolvins are natural, endogenous regulators of the immune system. The researchers reported their findings during the 87th General Session of the International Association of Dental Research.
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is inflammation of the gums and teeth by bacteria. Prevention of periodontal disease typically has included oral hygiene and professional care. However, this regimen is often not enough for severe inflammatory response.
Fish oil contains the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) that are reported to exhibit anti-inflammatory effects. Compounds derived from EPA are designated as resolvins from the E series (RvE1) while those that are biosynthesized from DHA are denoted resolvins from the D series (RvD). The investigators previously showed that topical application of RvE1 in experimental gum disease provides protection against and restores soft tissue and bone loss associated with gum disease. Therefore, the researchers were determined to investigate whether DHA-derived resolvin D1 (RvD1) could protect against tissue damage in several systemic inflammation models.
Experimental gum disease characterized by tissue inflammation and bone loss was stimulated in rabbits by the application of specific bacteria that cause human gum disease. The results demonstrate that RVD1 is similar to the EPA-derived lipid mediator, RvE1, in resolving periodontal inflammation and tissue regeneration. These results support the hypothesis that both EPA- and DHA-derived resolvins have therapeutic potential in resolving periodontal inflammation and restoring tissue health.