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News Article

Feline tooth resorption: gene study identifies potential therapeutic target

The only treatment currently available for feline tooth resorption is to extract affected teeth

Research into feline tooth resorption – in which teeth gradually break down and are lost – has shown that blocking the action of a particular gene prevents the cell processes that lead to disease. Researchers at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies found that matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9) expression is involved in the progress of tooth resorption pathogenesis and that MMP9 may be a potential therapeutic target. Their findings are published in Scientific Reports.

Using samples of genetic material recovered from the teeth of 11 cats, more than 1,000 genes were identified that had been active in teeth where resorption had occurred, and so might be involved in the process.

The researchers focused on the MMP9 gene, which produces a protein that is commonly found in areas of damaged tissue.

In experiments using two different techniques to prevent activity in the gene, both approaches prevented biological processes associated with tooth resorption.

Their findings suggest that the MMP9 gene, and the protein which it generates, are involved in causing tooth resorption.

They say existing therapies targeting this protein, for example in cancer treatment, may be effective in treating the condition.

The team hopes to study other genes of interest that may play a role in the condition.

Article: Lee, S., Bush, S.J., Thorne, S., Mawson, N., Farquharson, C., Bergkvist, G. T. (2020). Transcriptomic profiling of feline teeth highlights the role of matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9) in tooth resorption. Scientific Reports 10, 18958, doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-75998-3

Article details

  • Date
  • 25 November 2020
  • Source
  • Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies
  • Subject(s)
  • Dogs, Cats, and other Companion Animals