According to a University of Louisville press release, a scientist has found a way to prevent inflammation and bone loss surrounding the teeth by blocking a natural signaling pathway of the enzyme GSK3b, which plays an important role in directing the immune response.

The discovery of U of L School of Dentistry researcher David Scott, PhD, and his team was recently published in the journal Molecular Medicine.

The finding has implications in preventing periodontal disease, but may also be applicable to other chronic inflammatory diseases.

“The traditional approach to dealing with periodontal disease is to prevent plaque from forming at the gum-line or prevent the consequences of periodontal disease progression,” Scott said. “Our approach manipulates a natural mechanism within our bodies to prevent inflammation and subsequent degradation when exposed to the bacterium P. gingivalis.”

The release points out that GSK3b is known to facilitate the inflammation that occurs during bacterial infections, so blocking this enzyme from completing its normal function by using the GSK3-specific inhibitor, SB216763 stopped the inflammation process and subsequent bone loss induced by the key periodontal pathogen, P. gingivalis.

Scott and his team seek to determine whether SB216763 has any side effects or if they need to search for a different inhibitor of GSK3b.