Porphyromonas gingivalis is a Strong Risk Factor for Alzheimer’s Disease

Kanagasingam, Shalini, Chukkapalli, SS, Welbury, Richard orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-9322-2440 and Singhrao, Simarjit Kaur orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-9573-5963 (2020) Porphyromonas gingivalis is a Strong Risk Factor for Alzheimer’s Disease. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease Reports, 4 (1). pp. 501-511. ISSN 2542-4823

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.3233/ADR-200250


Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis) is one of the several important bacterial pathogens associated with the sporadic Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Different serotypes are either capsulated or are non-capsulated. It has been demonstrated that P. gingivalis (non-capsulated) can reproduce the neurodegenerative AD-like changes in vitro, and a capsular P. gingivalis (strain W83) could reproduce the cardinal hallmark lesions of AD in a wild-type mouse model. All P. gingivalis forms express proteolytically active proteases that enable cleavage of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) and tau resulting in the formation of amyloid-beta and neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs). Tau is an established substrate for gingipains, which can cleave tau into various peptides. Some of the P. gingivalis fragmented tau protein peptides contain “VQIINK” and “VQIVYK” hexapeptide motifs which map to the flanking regions of the microtubule binding domains and are also found in paired helical filaments that form NFTs. P. gingivalis can induce peripheral inflammation in periodontitis and can also initiate signaling pathways that activate kinases, which in turn, phosphorylate neuronal tau. Periodontal disease related inflammation has metabolic implications for an individual’s peripheral and brain health as patients suffering from generalized periodontitis often have related co-morbidities and are “at risk” of developing AD. The aim here is to discuss the role of P. gingivalis behind such associations with the backdrop of huge efforts to test P. gingivalis virulence factors clinically (GAIN Trial: Phase 2/3 Study of COR388 in Subjects with AD) with inhibitors, which may lead to an intervention by reducing the pathogenic bacterial load.

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