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NYU to study periodontal disease, bone loss in diabetics

April 03, 2018 New York University College of Dentistry researchers are exploring the biological mechanisms that contribute to poor oral health and related bone loss among people with diabetes thanks to a $2.2 million, five-year grant from The National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research, the university announced in an April news release.

The grant will fund research to determine whether elevated levels of succinate accelerate the progression of periodontal disease, according to the news release.

The research builds on the finding that succinate, a metabolite, is significantly elevated by high blood sugar and in type 2 diabetes patients. Xin Li, Ph.D., associate professor of basic science and craniofacial biology at NYU College of Dentistry, led the research team that made this conclusion.

Using mouse models, researchers will investigate whether succinate signaling alters the oral microbiome; study the role of succinate as an inflammatory and immune mediator; and determine whether blocking succinate signaling can thwart diabetes-related periodontal bone loss.

"Because we've found that succinate has significant implications for periodontal disease, we hope that by understanding this novel mechanism, we can help prevent periodontal bone loss in those with diabetes," said Deepak Saxena, Ph.D., associate professor of basic science and craniofacial biology at NYU College of Dentistry and one of the project's principal investigators, in a news release.

The project is a collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. Dr. Dana T. Graves, interim dean of Penn Dental Medicine, is also a principal investigator, according to the news release.