Colonization of hard and soft surfaces by Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans under hydrodynamic conditions

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Oral bacteria must attach to hard and soft tissues to colonize the oral cavity in the presence of a variety of forces caused by shear and flow. In vitro models mimicking this dynamic process are indispensable to study factors that might interfere with the first step towards infection. For extrapolation purposes the comparability between the dynamics of colonization on hard vs. soft surfaces needs to be evaluated.


The colonization of glass and epithelial cell surfaces by the periodontal pathogen Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans was followed in time with two flow cell models: a modified Robbins device (MRD) and an in situ image analysis system.


The number of A. actinomycetemcomitans recovered from the soft surfaces in the MRD experiments was higher than on glass. The amount of bacteria on the hard surfaces kept increasing with time, while on soft surfaces saturation was reached. The microscope-mounted flow cell allowed real-time in situ monitoring of the colonization process of both surfaces.


These experimental models may have a great contribution to make in the development of new treatment approaches for periodontal diseases. Colonization by A. actinomycetemcomitans could be studied under flow conditions and its dynamics showed important surface-dependent characteristics.

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