Cross-Protective Aspects of Glucosyltransferase Antigens in the Hamster Caries Model
Recent experiments in rodent (1,2) and primate (3–5) models have indicated that immunization with Streptococcus mutans cells or cell walls can exert a protective influence against subsequent infection with viable cariogenic strains of S. mutans. Protection is observed as diminished colonization by the infecting organisms or reductions in disease on molar surfaces. These mechanisms involve extracellular glucose polymers (glucans) which are synthesized from sucrose by constitutive glucosyltransferase (GTF) enzymes of S. mutans (6). Evidence that protection might be mediated by interference with these mechanisms is indicated by the presence of anti-GTF antibody in the sera and salivas of protected animals following injection with whole S. mutans cells (7–9) and by the demonstration that GTF enzyme function can be immunologically inhibited in vitro (10). Additional evidence comes from immunization experiments in the rodent model in which antigenic preparations containing GTF from serotypes b or g have clearly demonstrated protection from caries caused by infection with homologous strains of S. mutans (11,12).
KeywordsInfected Group Infection Period Lesion Count Antigenic Relatedness Molar Surface
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