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J Dent Res. 2000 Jun;79(6):1439-42.

Influence of environmental pH on the reactivity of Candida albicans with salivary IgA.

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Departamento de Immunologia, Microbiología y Parasitologia, Facultad de Medicina y Odontología, Universidad del País Vasco, Vizcaya, Spain.


Salivary secretory IgA reacts with a group of heat-shock mannoproteins preferentially expressed on Candida albicans yeast cells and germ tubes grown at 37 degrees C. Since other environmental factors can also modulate the expression of those antigens, we have investigated the influence of the pH of the culture medium on the expression of the antigens reacting with human salivary IgA by C. albicans. By indirect immunofluorescence, yeast cells grown in Sabouraud glucose broth at 37 degrees C showed a statistically significant increase in reactivity with salivary IgA (p < 0.0001) when compared with cells grown at 25 degrees C at the 4 pH values studied (3.3, 5.9, 7.5, and 9.5), the highest reactivity and the major heat-shock effect being observed at pH 5.9. The decrease in reactivity with salivary IgA observed in C. albicans cells grown at pH values of 3.3 and 9.5 was confirmed by Western blotting. Salivary IgA reacted with polydispersed materials from the cell walls of molecular masses > 55 kDa, which were more expressed at neutral pH than at acidic or alkaline pH values. A similar reactivity was observed when the antigenic extracts were stained with an antiserum directed against oligosaccharides present in antigen 6 of C. albicans serotype A. The differences in reactivity presented by salivary IgA may be related to a decrease in the expression of polysaccharides present on the surfaces of the yeast cells of C. albicans grown at acidic or alkaline pH values. The low reactivity of salivary IgA with C. albicans cells grown at acidic pH values may help to explain the association between acidic saliva and the carriage of Candida in the oral cavity, as well as with oral candidiasis.

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