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PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e42204. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0042204. Epub 2012 Aug 1.

Quantitative proteomic analysis of the effect of fluoride on the acquired enamel pellicle.

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Department of Biochemistry and School of Dentistry, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University, London, Onatrio, Canada.


The acquired enamel pellicle (AEP) is a thin film formed by the selective adsorption of salivary proteins onto the enamel surface of teeth. The AEP forms a critical interface between the mineral phase of teeth (hydroxyapatite) and the oral microbial biofilm. This biofilm is the key feature responsible for the development of dental caries. Fluoride on enamel surface is well known to reduce caries by reducing the solubility of enamel to acid. Information on the effects of fluoride on AEP formation is limited. This study aimed to investigate the effects of fluoride treatment on hydroxyapatite on the subsequent formation of AEP. In addition, this study pioneered the use of label-free quantitative proteomics to better understand the composition of AEP proteins. Hydroxyapatite discs were randomly divided in 4 groups (n = 10 per group). Each disc was exposed to distilled water (control) or sodium fluoride solution (1, 2 or 5%) for 2 hours. Discs were then washed and immersed in human saliva for an additional 2 hours. AEP from each disc was collected and subjected to liquid chromatography electrospray ionization mass spectrometry for protein identification, characterization and quantification. A total of 45 proteins were present in all four groups, 12 proteins were exclusively present in the control group and another 19 proteins were only present in the discs treated with 5% sodium fluoride. Relative proteomic quantification was carried out for the 45 proteins observed in all four groups. Notably, the concentration of important salivary proteins, such as statherin and histatin 1, decrease with increasing levels of fluoride. It suggests that these proteins are repulsed when hydroxyapatite surface is coated with fluoride. Our data demonstrated that treatment of hydroxyapatite with fluoride (at high concentration) qualitatively and quantitatively modulates AEP formation, effects which in turn will likely impact the formation of oral biofilms.

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