Human Exoproteome in Acute Apical Abscesses

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An acute apical abscess is a severe response of the host to massive invasion of the periapical tissues by bacteria from infected root canals. Although many studies have investigated the microbiota involved in the process, information on the host factors released during abscess formation is scarce. The purpose of this study was to describe the human exoproteome in samples from acute apical abscesses.


Fourteen pus samples were obtained by aspiration from patients with an acute apical abscess. Samples were subjected to protein digestion, and the tryptic peptides were analyzed using a mass spectrometer and ion trap instrument. The human proteins identified in this analysis were classified into different functional categories.


A total of 303 proteins were identified. Most of these proteins were involved in cellular and metabolic processes. Immune system proteins were also very frequent and included immunoglobulins, S100 proteins, complement proteins, and heat shock proteins. Polymorphonuclear neutrophil proteins were also commonly detected, including myeloperoxidases, defensins, elastases, and gelatinases. Iron-sequestering proteins including transferrin and lactoferrin/lactotransferrin were found in many samples.


The human exoproteome included a wide variety of proteins related to cellular processes, metabolism, and immune response. Proteins involved in different mechanisms against infection, tissue damage, and protection against tissue damage were identified. Knowledge of the presence and function of these proteins using proteomics provides an insight into the complex host-pathogen relationship, the host antimicrobial strategies to fight infections, and the disease pathogenesis.

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