Periodontitis: vitamin D3 as an adjunct treatment?
Periodontitis is a disease that affects both the gums and the periodontium. If left untreated, the teeth can loosen and fall out as a result. Treatment for periodontitis depends on the severity of the disease. Vitamin D3 may also help, as scientific studies show.
As explained in an article in "scilog", the magazine of the Austrian Science Fund FWF (Fund for the Promotion of Scientific Research), periodontitis is an inflammatory disease of the periodontium. Treatment and regeneration pose a major challenge to dentistry. Cell biologist Oleh Andrukhov studies dental stem cells interacting with the immune system. His data shows that vitamin D3, among others, plays a crucial role here.
Oral cavity colonized by various bacteria
Gateway to the body, the oral cavity is inhabited by a particularly high number of different bacteria. Most of them are beneficial to humans, the body's own immune system can usually defend itself well against the less useful rest.
However, if certain bacteria take over, a weakened immune system is no longer able to fight off pathogens. This condition can lead to periodontitis, which can lead to chronic inflammation of the periodontium and, if left untreated, eventually tooth loss.
Thanks to Austrian researchers, the overview of the interaction underlying this complicated inflammatory process has now been enriched with a piece of the puzzle.
Different immunomodulatory capacities
“We know that dental mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) play a vital role,” says Oleh Andrukhov from the University Dental Clinic in Vienna. “Until now, we have mainly seen them as a useful tool for tissue regeneration. But they also have the ability to influence immune cells. They therefore have an immunomodulatory effect.
Recent studies have suggested that MSCs possess distinct immunomodulatory abilities. However, these differences have never been systematically studied. A team led by cell biologist Oleh Andrukhov has now taken on this task.
Additionally, researchers hypothesized that the interaction of dental MSCs with immune cells plays a critical role in periodontitis. They also examined the influence of vitamin D3 on this interaction. The reason is: "It has long been assumed that a lack of vitamin D3 is a risk factor for periodontitis."
Perfectly balanced system found
For the investigations, the scientists isolated blood cells from dentally and physically healthy subjects as well as mesenchymal stem cells (progenitor cells) from extracted (pulled) teeth.
“In order to be able to study the interaction between stem and immune cells and vitamin D3, we have developed our own model,” says Andrukhov. Together with his team, he found a perfectly balanced system. “There is a constant, bi-directional interaction between immune cells and dental stem cells.”
This interaction is normally kept in balance, but ultimately depends on local conditions in the oral cavity, especially the presence of pro-inflammatory cytokines (immune cell transmitters).
On the one hand, the cytokine production of immune cells activates dental MSCs and, on the other hand, dental MSCs suppress the activity of immune cells, which leads to lower cytokine production. According to experts, a balance of this interaction could be essential for the progression of periodontitis and the regeneration of dental tissues.
Vitamin D3 in higher doses as an adjunct therapy
Moreover, data showed that this balanced interaction between immune cells and dental MSCs is influenced by vitamin D3 in various ways.
As explained in the article, vitamin D3 inhibits the activity of various immune cells and thus reduces the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. And at the same time, vitamin D3 also inhibits the immunomodulatory activity of dental MSCs.
These properties of vitamin D3 are in turn inhibited by bacterial factors and regulated by cytokines. Thus, vitamin D3 influences local conditions and at the same time its bioactivity is modulated by these conditions.
This suggests that vitamin D3 could be used in higher doses as an adjunctive treatment for periodontitis, and again the effectiveness of vitamin D3 could be improved by altering the local setting.
“But the optimal conditions still have to be sought,” says Andrukhov. In any case, the results open up a new perspective for future research projects.
The researchers' previous results have been published in the journals "Journal of Periodontal Research", "Journal of Clinical Periodontology", "Cells" and "World Journal of Stem Cells". (ad)
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This text corresponds to the requirements of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.
Sources:scilog, Austrian Science Fund FWF Magazine: New Approaches to the Treatment of Periodontitis, (Accessed: June 22, 2022), scilogBlufstein A., Behm C., Kubin B., Gahn J., Moritz A., Rausch- Fan X., Andrukhov O. Effect of vitamin D3 on osteogenic differentiation of human periodontal ligament stromal cells under inflammatory conditions; in: Journal of Periodontal Research, (published: 2021-02-05), Journal of Periodontal ResearchBehm C, Blufstein A, Gahn J, Kubin B, Moritz A, Rausch-Fan X, Andrukhov O: Pleiotropic effects of vitamin D3 on CD4+ T cells mediated by human periodontal ligament cells and the inflammatory environment; in: Journal of Clinical Periodontology, (published: 03/11/2020), Journal of Clinical PeriodontologyBehm C, Blufstein A, Gahn J, Nemec M, Moritz A, Rausch-Fan X, Andrukhov O: cytokines define immunomodulation differently from the mesenchyme the stem cells of the periodontal ligament; in: Cells, (published: 05/14/2020), CellsAndrukhov O., Behm C., Blufstein A., Rausch-Fan X.: Immunomodulatory properties of mesenchymal stem cells derived from dental tissues: Implication in disease and regeneration tissue; in: World Journal of Stem Cells, (published: 09/26/2019), World Journal of Stem Cells
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot substitute a visit to the doctor.