Extracellular DNA Contributes to Dental Biofilm Stability

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Extracellular DNA (eDNA) is a major matrix component of many bacterial biofilms. While the presence of eDNA and its role in biofilm stability have been demonstrated for several laboratory biofilms of oral bacteria, there is no data available on the presence and function of eDNA in in vivo grown dental biofilms. This study aimed to determine whether eDNA was part of the matrix in biofilms grown in situ in the absence of sucrose and whether treatment with DNase dispersed biofilms grown for 2.5, 5, 7.5, 16.5, or 24 h. Three hundred biofilms from 10 study participants were collected and treated with either DNase or heat-inactivated DNase for 1 h. The bacterial biovolume was determined with digital image analysis. Staining with TOTO®-1 allowed visualization of eDNA both on bacterial cell surfaces and, with a cloud-like appearance, in the intercellular space. DNase treatment strongly reduced the amount of biofilm in very early stages of growth (up to 7.5 h), but the treatment effect decreased with increasing biofilm age. This study proves the involvement of eDNA in dental biofilm formation and its importance for biofilm stability in the earliest stages. Further research is required to uncover the interplay of eDNA and other matrix components and to explore the therapeutic potential of DNase treatment for biofilm control.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCaries Research
Pages (from-to)436-442
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017

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