Cerebral microbleeds (CMBs) are an important risk factor for stroke and dementia. We have shown that the collagen binding surface Cnm protein expressed on cnm-positive Streptococcus mutans is involved in the development of CMBs. However, whether the collagen binding activity of cnm-positive S. mutans is related to the nature of the CMBs or to cognitive impairment is unclear. Two-hundred seventy nine community residents (70.0 years) were examined for the presence or absence of cnm-positive S. mutans in the saliva by PCR and collagen binding activity, CMBs, and cognitive function were evaluated. Cnm-positive S. mutans was detected more often among subjects with CMBs (p < 0.01) than those without. The risk of CMBs was significantly higher (odds ratio = 14.3) in the group with S. mutans expressing collagen binding activity, as compared to the group without that finding. Deep CMBs were more frequent (67%) and cognitive function was lower among subjects with cnm-positive S. mutans expressing collagen binding activity. This work supports the role of oral health in stroke and dementia and proposes a molecular mechanism for the interaction.
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