Researchers in Japan suggest that periodontal disease may act as a risk factor for reactivating latent HIV-1 in affected individuals.
Scientists from Tokyo-based Nihon University highlight the fact that latently infected cells harbor HIV-1 proviral DNA genomes integrated with heterochromatins, allowing for the persistence of transcriptionally silent proviruses.
They have found that the bacterium Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis), which causes periodontal diseases, may strongly facilitate HIV-1 reactivation via chromatin modification.
The researchers say that their findings indicate that periodontal disease could act as a risk-factor for HIV-1 reactivation in latently infected individuals, and might contribute to the systemic dissemination of the virus causing clinical progression of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
According to them, their study emphasizes the essential role of maintaining oral hygiene and controlling oral diseases for the prevention of AIDS.
The findings were presented at the 87th General Session of the International Association for Dental Research at the Miami Beach Convention Center.