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J Appl Microbiol. 2012 Oct;113(4):983-91. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2672.2012.05396.x. Epub 2012 Aug 21.

Effectiveness of egg yolk immunoglobulin (IgY) against periodontal disease-causing Fusobacterium nucleatum.

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School of Life Science and Biotechnology, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China.



To evaluate the in vitro and in vivo effectiveness of egg yolk immunoglobulin (IgY) against periodontal disease-causing Fusobacterium nucleatum.


Four White Leghorn hens (120 days old) were immunized with whole Fus. nucleatum cells killed with 1% formaldehyde using three injections provided at 2-week intervals. IgY was produced from egg yolks obtained from these immunized hens using water dilution, two-step salt precipitation and ultrafiltration. This IgY was shown to have a purity of 86·8% based on its optical intensity in the stained SDS-PAGE bands. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay indicated a high specificity for the IgY against Fus. nucleatum with a maximum antibody titre of 80 000. The IgY had only weak cross-reactivity with Porphyromonas gingivalis, Prevotella intermedia and Solobacterium moorei. Growth and biofilm formation by Fus. nucleatum were inhibited by IgY at concentrations of 10 and 20 mg ml(-1) . Immunofluorescence and immunoelectron microscope assays revealed a high binding ability of specific IgY, which may explain the in vitro effectiveness of IgY. In an in vivo study, IgY treatment resulted in a marked decrease in alveolar bone loss after Fus. nucleatum infection in a mouse model confirming the effectiveness of IgY against periodontal disease-causing Fus. nucleatum.


IgY effectively inhibited growth and biofilm formation by Fus. nucleatum and prevented the progression of periodontal disease by decreasing alveolar bone loss.


Specific IgY may have potential for the treatment of periodontal disease.

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