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Mol Oral Microbiol. 2011 Dec;26(6):337-52. doi: 10.1111/j.2041-1014.2011.00622.x. Epub 2011 Sep 13.

Community-based interference against integration of Pseudomonas aeruginosa into human salivary microbial biofilm.

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  • 1UCLA School of Dentistry, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1668, USA.


As part of the human gastrointestinal tract, the oral cavity represents a complex biological system and harbors diverse bacterial species. Unlike the gut microbiota, which is often considered a health asset, studies of the oral commensal microbiota have been largely limited to their implication in oral conditions such as dental caries and periodontal disease. Less emphasis has been given to their potential beneficial roles, especially the protective effects against oral colonization by foreign or pathogenic bacteria. In this study, we used salivary microbiota derived from healthy human subjects to investigate protective effects against colonization and integration of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, an opportunistic bacterial pathogen, into developing or pre-formed salivary biofilms. When co-cultivated in saliva medium, P. aeruginosa persisted in the planktonic phase, but failed to integrate into the salivary microbial community during biofilm formation. Furthermore, in saliva medium supplemented with sucrose, the oral microbiota inhibited the growth of P. aeruginosa by producing lactic acid. More interestingly, while pre-formed salivary biofilms were able to prevent P. aeruginosa colonization, the same biofilms recovered from mild chlorhexidine gluconate treatment displayed a shift in microbial composition and showed a drastic reduction in protection. Our study indicates that normal oral communities with balanced microbial compositions could be important in effectively preventing the integration of foreign or pathogenic bacterial species, such as P. aeruginosa.

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