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J Dent Res. 2002 Jan;81(1):28-32.

Saliva promotes Candida albicans adherence to human epithelial cells.

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Department of Oral Sciences and Orthodontics, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.


Adhesion of Candida cells to oral surfaces is an initial event in pathogenesis. Since specific immobilized salivary components mediate the binding of Candida albicans to hydroxyapatite, we hypothesized that saliva may also promote adherence to oral epithelia via a similar mechanism. In an in vitro model, C. albicans ATCC 10261 yeast cells adhered in a saturable manner to monolayers of three cultured human epithelial cell lines (A549, HEp-2, and HET-1A). The addition of whole saliva to the assay promoted the binding of C. albicans to all cell lines in a dose-dependent manner, but pre-incubation of the epithelial cells with pooled whole saliva had no effect on subsequent adherence. Pre-incubation of the yeast cells with pooled whole saliva, however, significantly enhanced (by up to 120%, P < 0.05) binding to epithelial cell monolayers, and pooled saliva that had been pre-incubated with C. albicans yeast cells was defective in promoting yeast adherence. There was a negative correlation (r = 0.68, P < 0.005) between specific IgA titers against whole cells of C. albicans and adherence-promoting activities for individual saliva samples. The adhesion-inhibitory effect of specific anti-C. albicans IgA was reversed by depletion of IgA from saliva by affinity chromatography. Factors in whole saliva, therefore, bound to the yeast cells, counter the C. albicans-specific salivary IgA inhibitory effect on adhesion and promote the adherence of C. albicans yeast cells to cultured epithelial cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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