Intranasal immunization against dental caries with a Streptococcus mutans-enriched fimbrial preparation

Margherita Fontana, Ann J. Dunipace, George K. Stookey, Richard L. Gregory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Streptococcus mutans has been identified as the major etiological agent of human dental caries. The first step in the initiation of infection by this pathogenic bacterium is its attachment (i.e., through bacterial surface proteins such as glucosyltransferases, P1, glucan-binding proteins, and fimbriae) to a suitable receptor. It is hypothesized that a mucosal vaccine against a combination of S. mutans surface proteins would protect against dental caries by inducing specific salivary immunoglobulin A (IgA) antibodies which may reduce bacterial pathogenesis and adhesion to the tooth surface by affecting several adhesins simultaneously. Conventional Sprague-Dawley rats, infected with S. mutans at 18 to 20 days of age, were intranasally immunized with a mixture of S. mutans surface proteins, enriched for fimbriae and conjugated with cholera toxin B subunit (CTB) plus free cholera toxin (CT) at 13, 15, 22, 29, and 36 days of age (group A). Control rats were either not immunized (group B) or immunized with adjuvant alone (CTB and CT [group C]). At the termination of the study (when rats were 46 days of age), immunized animals (group A) had significantly (P < 0.05) higher salivary IgA and serum IgG antibody responses to the mixture of surface proteins and to whole bacterial cells than did the other two groups (B and C). No significant differences were found in the average numbers of recovered S. mutans cells among groups. However, statistically fewer smooth-surface enamel lesions (buccal and lingual) were detected in the immunized group than in the two other groups. Therefore, a mixture of S. mutans surface proteins, enriched with fimbria components, appears to be a promising immunogen candidate for a mucosal vaccine against dental caries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)405-409
Number of pages5
JournalClinical and Diagnostic Laboratory Immunology
Volume6
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Microbiology (medical)

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