An inexpensive drug used to treat periodontitis or gum disease could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in post-menopausal women.
New research recently released by the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry has found that low doses of doxycycline reduces systemic inflammation in post-menopausal women.
The research was published as the cover story of the March issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association.
The study, led by Jeffrey Payne, D.D.S., associate dean for research at the UNMC College of Dentistry and co-investigator Lorne Golub, D.M.D., a professor in the department of oral biology and pathology at the Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine in New York, also found that HDL levels, or good cholesterol, rose in women who were more than five years post-menopausal.
Doxycycline given at a low, non-antibiotic dose also is used to treat acne and rosacea. The drug was found to significantly reduce systemic inflammation, which has been associated with coronary artery disease.
Coronary artery disease is a leading cause of death among post-menopausal women.
“Inflammation is a major factor in the initiation and progression of cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Payne. “Periodontitis contributes to systemic inflammation because bacteria from the mouth can get into the blood stream and may affect the coronary arteries.”
By reducing inflammation, cardiovascular disease risk also may be reduced, he said. “However, further study is needed to determine whether doxycycline at a low dose can reduce the risk of coronary artery disease.”
In the double-blind clinical trial, 128 post-menopausal women, who had periodontitis and bone loss in the hips or spine, were placed on a randomly assigned placebo or a low dose of doxycycline.
After two years, the women were evaluated for the level of C-reactive protein (CRP) and a matrix metalloproteinase (MMP-9), in their blood, both of which are biomarkers of coronary artery disease and both of which were lowered.
“The promising results provide a possible therapeutic approach to managing chronic systemic inflammation using an already approved, inexpensive drug with a favorable safety profile,” he said.
Through world-class research and patient care, UNMC generates breakthroughs that make life better for people throughout Nebraska and beyond. Its education programs train more health professionals than any other institution in the state. Learn more at unmc.edu.
please contact :
Lisa Spellman, UNMC Public Relations, (402) 559-4353