Nicotine Upregulates Coaggregation of Candida albicans and Streptococcus mutans.

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Denture stomatitis is a condition of painless inflammation of denture-bearing mucosa. Reports indicate that nicotine, the major psychoactive ingredient in tobacco, increases growth of Streptococcus mutans and Candida albicans in denture biofilm. The purpose of this study was to determine the in vitro effects of nicotine on coaggregation of C. albicans with S. mutans.


C. albicans strain ATCC 10231, S. mutans strain UA159 (ATTC 700610), and nicotine dilutions (ranging from 0 to 32 mg/ml) were used for this study. Both microorganisms were grown for 24 hours in dilutions of nicotine (0 to 32 mg/ml) made in tryptic soy broth (TSB) or TSB supplemented with 1% sucrose (TSBS; S. mutans) or yeast peptone dextrose broth (YPD; C. albicans). Suspensions of the nicotine-treated cells were prepared, mixed together and incubated for up to 24 hours to determine if there was an increase in coaggregation of nicotine-treated cells compared to the no nicotine control cells. Qualitative analysis of coaggregation was performed using a visual aggregation assay and light microscopic observation. A spectrophotometric assay was used to provide a quantitative analysis of the coaggregation.


The visual aggregation assay indicated a significant increase in coaggregation between C. albicans and S. mutans with increasing incubation time (0 to 24 hours) and nicotine concentrations (0 to 4 mg/ml). Microbial growth in nicotine at 4 mg/ml demonstrated a significant increase in coaggregation after 24 hours of incubation. The numbers of coaggregated S. mutans/C. albicans cells exhibited a significant increase with incubation time and nicotine concentrations when the samples were examined microscopically. More coaggregation of S. mutans and C. albicans was observed with incubation time and increased nicotine compared to the 0 mg/ml nicotine group. There was a noticeable increase of coaggregation when cells were grown in TSBS compared to TSB. Absorbance of nicotine-treated cells (0.25 to 4 mg/ml) exhibited a decrease in values compared to 0 mg/ml at 0 hours of incubation, confirming increased coaggregation.


These results demonstrated the effect of nicotine in increasing the coaggregation of S. mutans with C. albicans. Coaggregation increased with incubation time and nicotine concentration. Coaggregation was increased with S. mutans grown in TSBS compared to TSB, suggesting that growth in sucrose media leads to an increase in receptors responsible for coaggregation.

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