, Volume 178, Issue 2, pp 69-79

Growth and adsorption of Streptococcus mutans 6715-13 to hydroxyapatite in the presence of lactoferrin

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The growth of Streptococcus mutans 6715-13 in a rich medium (Todd Hewitt broth) was drastically reduced by addition of apo-lactoferrin (apo-Lf); this effect was bacteriostatic and reversible by saturation of Lf with iron. The influence of Lf, salivary proteins (SP) and bovine serum albumin (BSA) on the attachment of Streptococcus mutans to hydroxyapatite (HA) was successively investigated. Sorption of Lf, SP, and BSA to HA was dependent on the protein concentration and reached the end-point at about 80 mg of proteins per gram of HA. Similarly, the number of streptococci adsorbed to HA was correlated to the amount of cells available up to at least 107 cells per mg of HA. The adsorption of Lf, SP and BSA on HA reduced the number of attaching S. mutans cells. In particular, SP reduced the adsorption of S. mutans by 30%, whereas pre-coating of HA with apoor iron-saturated Lf resulted in a three orders of magnitude reduction of S. mutans adsorption to HA, as demonstrated by means of different experimental procedures. The powerful adherence-inhibiting effect of apo-Lf together with its noticeable antibacterial activity towards S. mutans points to a biological significance of these phenomena also in vivo.