Bacteria in our mouth plays a key role in clogged arteries


Bacteria in our mouth plays a key role in clogged arteries

The fat molecules in the plaques clog up arteries and raise the risk of heart attack and stroke. New study reveals heart attack and stroke may also come from bacteria that live in our mouth and gut. The researchers explain why gum disease is often linked to atherosclerosis.

As the plaques build up, they harden and narrow the arteries, restricting the flow of oxygen-carrying blood to vital organs and tissues. This can lead to heart attack, stroke, and even death.

Our immune system also plays a key role. This results which helps the formation of plaques and other growths known as atheromas.

Atherosclerosis can affect arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart, brain, kidneys, limbs, pelvis, and other parts of the body. This gives rise to various diseases, depending on which arteries are affected. However, the fatty molecules, or lipids contribute to atherosclerosis came from eating foods high in fat and cholesterol.


For the new study, researchers analyzed atheromas collected from atherosclerosis patients. However, they found that the growths contained chemical signatures of lipids that could not have come from animals. Alternatively, they matched the fat molecules from bacteria, which belongs to Bacteroidetes family.

Xudong Yao, associate professor of chemistry at the University of Connecticut, explains that comparing with chemical makeup of human lipids with lipids produced by bacteria, they show subtle differences in weight.

“We used these weight differences and modern mass spectrometers to selectively measure the quantity of the bacterial lipids in human samples to link the lipids to atherosclerosis,” he notes.

According to researchers, the immune system triggers inflammation because when it encounters the fatty deposits in the artery walls, it recognizes that the lipids are not of human origin.

Also, the researchers found an enzyme that breaks down the bacterial lipids into starting materials for making molecules to promote inflammation.

More information: [Journal of Lipid Research]