Clinical Oral Investigations

, Volume 22, Issue 7, pp 2519–2525 | Cite as

Sensitivity of caries pathogens to antimicrobial peptides related to caries risk

  • Julia Eliette Goeke
  • Stefan Kist
  • Sören Schubert
  • Reinhard Hickel
  • Karin Christine Huth
  • Maximilian KollmussEmail author
Original Article



Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) represent important facets of the immune system controlling infectious diseases. However, pathogens show varying susceptibilities to AMPs. This study investigates the susceptibilities of strains of Streptococcus mutans (SM), Actinomyces naeslundii (AN), and Lactobacillus spp. (LB) towards AMPs and if there are correlations between the appearance of such high-risk strains and clinical caries status.

Material and methods

Plaque samples were collected from patients along with clinical examinations. Bacterial strains were identified via selective media, matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization analysis-time of flight (MALDI-TOF), and arbitrary-primed-PCR (AP-PCR). Each strain was tested for susceptibility to LL-37, HBD-2, HNP-1, and HNP-3 or phosphate-buffered saline as negative control in a biofilm model on hydroxylapatite discs. Survival rates and resulting risk classification for each strain were determined. Correlations were calculated between the number of high-risk strains (all/S. mutans) appearing in patients and their clinical caries status.


Forty-seven patients were included with mean DMFT values of 11.4 ± 8.7. A total of 8 different SM, 30 LB, and 47 AN strains were detected. One-way ANOVA indicated that type/concentration of AMPs had major influence on reductions of Lactobacilli and Actinomyces. Seventeen strains of AN, 2 of SM, and 6 of LB had low susceptibilities to AMPs. The number of such strains in patients showed significant positive correlations to the DMFT values (all p = 0.001; r = 0.452; S. mutans p < 0.0001, r = 0.558).


The occurrence of low susceptible strains to AMPs seems to correlate with the individual caries status.

Clinical relevance

The results may lead to new ways to identify individuals with increased caries risk.


Antimicrobial peptides Caries Biofilm Susceptibility 



The authors would like to thank all participants who were included in this study. Further, we want to thank the team of the Department of Medical Microbiology of the Max-von-Pettenkofer-Institute for their help with the MALDI-TOF analysis.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julia Eliette Goeke
    • 1
  • Stefan Kist
    • 1
  • Sören Schubert
    • 2
  • Reinhard Hickel
    • 1
  • Karin Christine Huth
    • 1
  • Maximilian Kollmuss
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Conservative Dentistry and PeriodontologyUniversity Hospital, LMU MunichMunichGermany
  2. 2.Max-von-Pettenkofer-Institute for Medical MicrobiologyLMUMunichGermany

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