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Periodontitis and myocardial infarction: A shared genetic predisposition

This release is available in German.

A mutual epidemiological relationship between aggressive periodontitis and myocardial infarction has already been shown in the past. Scientists at the universities of Kiel, Dresden, Amsterdam and Bonn have now presented the first evidence of a shared genetic variant on chromosome 9, which maps to a genetic region that codes for the "antisense RNA" Anril, as reported in the latest edition of the specialist journal PLoS Genetics.

The first author, Dr Arne Schaefer from the Institute for Clinical Molecular Biology at Kiel University, sees clear similarities in the genetic predisposition: "We have examined the aggressive form of periodontitis, the most extreme form of periodontitis which is characterized by a very early age of onset. The genetic variation associated with this clinical picture is identical to that of patients who suffer from cardiovascular disease and have already had a myocardial infarction."

Because it has to be assumed that there is a causal connection between periodontitis and myocardial infarction, periodontitis should be taken seriously by dentists and diagnosed and treated at an early stage. "Aggressive periodontitis has shown itself to be associated not only with the same risk factors such as smoking, but it shares, at least in parts, the same genetic predisposition with an illness that is the leading cause of death worldwide.," warned Schaefer. Knowledge of the risk of heart attacks could also induce patients with periodontitis to keep the risk factors in check and take preventive measures.


Contact: Dr. Arne Schaefer
Kiel University

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