Objective: To perform a comparative analysis of saliva protein profile of patients with early childhood caries at different levels of severity and caries-free individuals. Materials and methods: Stimulated saliva samples were collected from 126 children (2–6 years old), classified according to the ICDAS II, and divided into 3 groups (n = 42): caries-free (CF), enamel caries (EC), and dentine caries (DC). Samples were digested and analyzed by nanoUPLC coupled with a mass spectrometry. Data analyses were conducted with Progenesis QI for Proteomics Software v2.0. Gene Ontology (GO) terms and protein–protein interaction analysis were obtained. Results: A total of 306 proteins (≈6 peptides) were identified. Among them, 122 were differentially expressed in comparisons among children with different caries status. Out of the 122 proteins, the proteins E2AK4 and SH3L2 were exclusively present in groups CF and EC, respectively, and 8 proteins (HAUS4, CAH1, IL36A, IL36G, AIMP1, KLHL8, KLH13, and SAA1) were considered caries-related proteins when compared to caries-free children; they were up-regulated proteins in the caries groups (EC and DC). Conclusion: The identification of exclusive proteins for caries-free or carious-related conditions may help in understanding the mechanisms of caries and predicting risk as well as advancing in caries control or anti-caries approaches.
- early childhood caries
ASJC Scopus subject areas