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Int J Med Sci. 2019 Jan 1;16(2):241-246. doi: 10.7150/ijms.29027. eCollection 2019.

MUC7 Level As A New Saliva Risk Factor For Dental Caries In Adult Patients.

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Department of Preclinical Conservative Dentistry and Preclinical Endodontics, University of Medical Sciences in Poznan, Poland.
Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Medical Sciences in Poznan, Poland.


Purpose: Data currently available indicate the significance of salivary mucins MUC5B and MUC7 in the protection of teeth against caries. Our study aimed to determine the relationship between dental caries in adults and levels of MUC5B and MUC7. Methods: The studies were conducted on 45 adult subjects selected on the basis of dental examination and calculation of the DMFT (Decayed, Missing, and Filled Teeth) index. Among these patients, two research groups were distinguished: group 1 included 19 caries-free subjects (DMFT = 0); and group 2 included 26 patients with severe caries (DMFT > 13.9). Samples of whole unstimulated saliva were collected and centrifuged. MUC5B and MUC7 content in saliva supernatant were estimated using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent sandwich assay (ELISA). Analysis of the obtained data receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves was employed to define relationships between the contents of the studied mucins and the detected dental caries. Results: In subjects from group 1, the mean level of MUC5B amounted to 0.63 ± 0.35 ng/ml and this was significantly higher than the concentration of mucin in patients of group 2, which amounted to 0.38 ± 0.32 ng/ml (p = 0.023). The mean level of MUC7 amounted to 5.47 ± 1.18 ng/ml and this was significantly higher than the level of the mucin in group 2, which was 1.39 ± 0.86 ng/ml (p< 0.0001). In parallel, a relationship was detected between levels of the examined mucins and manifestation of dental caries. For MUC7, the optimal cut-off value was obtained (i.e. corresponding to 100% sensitivity and specificity), amounting to 2.5 ng/ml for the detection of dental caries risk. Conclusions: Development of dental caries is linked to reduced concentrations of MUC5B and MUC7. The level of MUC7 may represent a significant parameter clinically suitable for evaluation of disease risk.


MUC5B; MUC7; Oral health; dental caries.; saliva mucins

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interest exists.

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