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Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2010 Oct-Dec;23(4):1253-60.

Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sobrinus are able to adhere and invade human gingival fibroblast cell line.

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  • 1Department of Health Sciences and Infectious Diseases, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy.


Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sobrinus, the principal etiologic agents of caries decay of teeth, are generally acquired in oral cavity at the moment of tooth eruption. However, as S. mutans has been detected in oral cavity of predentate children, the eruption of teeth seems not to be a necessary prerequisite, suggesting that this species may be not confined to dental plaque. Here, we evaluate the ability of S. mutans and S. sobrinus in planktonic and biofilm lifestyle to adhere, invade and survive within human gingival fibroblast (HGF-1) cells. Planktonic and biofilm streptococci adhered and invaded host cells to different extents, showing higher efficiencies of biofilm than planktonic counterparts. Moreover, planktonic and biofilm streptococci showed the same percentage of survival within host cells. Transmission electron and confocal microscopy observations confirmed intracellular localization of planktonic and biofilm bacteria. The adhesion, invasion and survival abilities within human oral cells may be considered S. mutans and S. sobrinus virulence mechanisms to colonize and persist in the oral cavity in the absence of tooth surface.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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