Redefining innate cell development at oral barriers

Year of award: 2021


  • Dr Joanne Konkel

    University of Manchester, United Kingdom

Project summary

Periodontitis is the most common chronic inflammatory disease of mankind and affects the gums and tooth-supporting structures. Crucially, periodontitis is also a risk factor for other diseases including cancer, cardiovascular and lung diseases. Despite this, we know little of how the immune system functions at the oral barrier - the site of periodontitis.

Our recent work has revealed a novel, oral barrier-specific mechanism by which some immune cells develop locally at this site, identifying haematopoietic stem and progenitor cells resident within the oral barrier. Here we will detail how the oral barrier supports haematopoietic stem and progenitor cells and how these cells contribute to effective immune control at this site; as we hypothesize that dysregulation of these processes underpins not only periodontitis but promotes systemic inflammatory consequences. Our work will enhance our fundamental understanding of how oral barrier immune responses are controlled, identifying novel strategies for therapeutic manipulation in periodontitis.