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J Dent Res. 1976 Apr;55 Spec No:C59-64.

Antigens in Streptococcus mutans cross reactive with human heart muscle.


An antigen that cross reacts with mammalian heart tissue has been shown to be present in several strains of S mutans. Inoculation of S mutans into rabbits elicited heart-reactive antibody as part of the immunologic response. This heart-reactive antibody was demonstrated to be tissue-specific in that it only bound heart and smooth muscle tissue. Similar results have been previously reported using group A streptococci. Adsorption studies using sarcolemmal sheaths, group A streptoccal membranes, and fractions of cariogenic streptococci demonstrated the presence of a similar antigen. The aforementioned fractions could remove heart-reactive antibody from both immune rabbit serums and serums from patients with acute rheumatic fever. These findings dictate the necessity for testing any future caries vaccine containing fractions of S mutans for the presence of this cross-reactive antigen to avoid a possible autoimmunization.

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