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Epigenetic mechanisms in the inflammatory oral lesion of smokers

Institution: University of California, Los Angeles
Investigator(s): jaeyoung lee,
Award Cycle: 2019 (Cycle 29) Grant #: T29FT0685 Award: $198,036
Subject Area: Oral Disease and Dental Health
Award Type: Postdoctoral Fellowship Awards

Initial Award Abstract
Periodontal disease is a very common oral condition which ranges from gum infection to serious bone infection disease, resulting in major damage to the jaw bone that supports the teeth. This may cause chronic jaw bone destruction leading to tooth loss or other secondary infections. Although the bacteria in dental plaque are the main cause of periodontal disease, smoking also can contribute to the development and exacerbation of periodontal disease. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III, current smokers were approximately four times as likely as persons who had never smoked to have periodontal disease, and the effect appears to be dose-related, with heavy smokers showing a greater risk of periodontal disease. Additionally, smoking also can lower the chances of successful treatments for periodontal disease. Overall, smoking is one of the most significant risk factors and responsible for more than half of periodontal disease among adults in the US. Thus, the goal of this study, by conducting a multi-disciplinary approach of biological sciences using both animals and cells, is to characterize a novel factor and find how smoking leads to increased disease progression in the mouth. By understanding this process, it may be possible to not only emphasize the role of smoking on the oral health but also find the new ways to treat smoking-related oral diseases in the mouth. Therefore, this project is important for both understanding and treating smoking-associated periodontal disease. Furthermore, I believe that this study will help us understand the detailed of how smoking promotes diseases related with increased inflammation in general. The outcome of this project will provide critical and novel foundational data, upon which to build future projects with the clear potential to reduce damages caused by tobacco-associated irritants.