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Infect Immun. 2001 May;69(5):3135-42.

Passive transfer of immunoglobulin Y antibody to Streptococcus mutans glucan binding protein B can confer protection against experimental dental caries.

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Department of Immunology, The Forsyth Institute, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Active immunization with Streptococcus mutans glucan binding protein B (GBP-B) has been shown to induce protection against experimental dental caries. This protection presumably results from continuous secretion of salivary antibody to GBP-B, which inhibits accumulation of S. mutans within the oral biofilm. The purpose of this study was to explore the influence of short-term (9- or 24-day) passive oral administration of antibody to S. mutans GBP-B on the longer-term accumulation and cariogenicity of S. mutans in a rat model of dental caries. Preimmune chicken egg yolk immunoglobulin Y (IgY) or IgY antibody to S. mutans GBP-B was supplied in lower (experiment 1) and higher (experiment 2) concentrations in the diet and drinking water of rats for 9 (experiment 1) or 24 (experiment 2) days. During the first 3 days of IgY feeding, all animals were challenged with 5 x 10(6) streptomycin-resistant S. mutans strain SJ-r organisms. Rats remained infected with S. mutans for 78 days, during which rat molars were sampled for the accumulation of S. mutans SJ-r bacteria and total streptococci. Geometric mean levels of S. mutans SJ-r accumulation on molar surfaces were significantly lower in antibody-treated rats on days 16 and 78 of experiment 2 and were lower on all but the initial (day 5) swabbing occasions in both experiments. Relative to controls, the extent of molar dental caries measured on day 78 was also significantly decreased. The decrease in molar caries correlated with the amount and duration of antibody administration. This is the first demonstration that passive antibody to S. mutans GBP-B can have a protective effect against cariogenic S. mutans infection and disease. Furthermore, this decrease in infection and disease did not require continuous antibody administration for the duration of the infection period. This study also indicates that antibody to components putatively involved only in cellular aggregation can have a significant effect on the incorporation of mutans streptococci in dental biofilm.

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