Two-dimensional electrophoresis study of in vitro pellicle formation and dental caries susceptibility

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In the present study, a proteomic approach was applied to evaluate the influence of salivary protein composition on in vitro dental pellicle formation and its possible correlation with dental caries. Whole saliva, collected from caries-free and caries-susceptible subjects, was analyzed by two-dimensional electrophoresis, and protein spots were identified by mass spectrometry. Data analysis of salivary protein composition showed a statistically significant correlation between the quantity of acidic proline-rich proteins (PRPs), lipocalin, cystatin SN and cystatin S, and samples from the caries-free group of subjects [decayed, missing or filled teeth (DMFT) = 0]. Samples from subjects with a high DMFT index appear to be correlated with high levels of amylase, immunoglobulin A, and lactoferrin. In vitro pellicle-composition experiments showed the same correlations found for whole saliva. As cystatins are known physiological inhibitors of cathepsins, the higher quantities of lipocalin, and cystatins S and SN found in the samples from the caries-free subjects suggest that inhibition of proteolytic events on other salivary proteins may indirectly provide tooth protection. The correlation between higher levels of the phosphorylated acidic PRPs 1/2 with samples from the caries-free group also suggests a protective role for these proteins.

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