Enzymology and Ultrastructure of the in situ Pellicle in Caries-Active and Caries-Inactive Patients

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Abstract

Aim: The present study aimed to evaluate the impact of caries activity on the key enzymes and the ultrastructure of the in situ pellicle. Methods: Pellicle formation was performed on bovine enamel slabs. Intraoral exposure (3, 30, and 120 min) was accomplished by 14 caries-active (DMFS: 22.7 ± 12.1) and 13 caries-inactive (DMFS: 1.5 ± 1.8) individuals. The enzyme activities (lysozyme, peroxidase, α-amylase, glycosyltransferase [GTF]) in the in situ pellicle and resting saliva of all participants were analyzed directly after oral exposure. In addition, a simultaneous visualization of these enzymes, extracellular glucans, and adherent bacteria was carried out. Fluorescent patterns were analyzed with fluorescence labeling and 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole/concanavalin A staining. In addition, the distribution of GTF B, C, and D and the ultrastructure of the pellicle were examined by gold immunolabeling and transmission electron microscopy with selected samples. Results: Enzyme activities of amylase, peroxidase, lysozyme, and GTF were detected on all enamel slabs in an active conformation. Neither exposure time nor caries activity had an impact on the enzyme activities. Gold immunolabeling indicated that the pellicle of caries-active subjects tends to more GTF D molecules. The pellicles of caries-inactive and -active individuals revealed a similar ultrastructural pattern. Conclusion: The enzyme activities as well as the pellicle's ultrastructure are of high similarity in caries-active and -inactive subjects. Thereby, oral exposure time has no significant influence. This reflects a high uniformity during the initial phase of bioadhesion (3-120 min) concerning enzymatic functions. However, there is a tendency towards more GTF D in caries-active individuals.

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