Effects of apigenin and tt-farnesol on glucosyltransferase activity, biofilm viability and caries development in rats


Hyun Koo, University of Rochester Medical Center, Center for Oral Biology, 601 Elmwood Ave., Box 611, Rochester, NY 14642, USA


Propolis, a resinous hive product secreted by Apis mellifera bees, has been shown to reduce the incidence of dental caries in rats. Several compounds, mainly polyphenolics, have been identified in propolis. Apigenin and tt-farnesol demonstrated biological activity against mutans streptococci. We determined here their effects, alone or in combination, on glucosyltransferase activity, biofilm viability, and development of caries in rats. Sprague-Dawley rats were infected with Streptococcus sobrinus 6715 and treated topically twice daily as follows: (1) tt-farnesol, (2) apigenin, (3) vehicle control, (4) fluoride, (5) apigenin +tt-farnesol, and (6) chlorhexidine. Apigenin (1.33 mM) inhibited the activity of glucosyltransferases in solution (90–95%) and on the surface of saliva-coated hydroxyapatite beads (35–58%); it was devoid of antibacterial activity. tt-Farnesol (1.33 mM) showed modest antibacterial activity against biofilms and its effects on glucosyltransferases were minimal. The incidence of smooth-surface caries was significantly reduced by apigenin +tt-farnesol (60%), fluoride (70%), and chlorhexidine (72%) treatments compared to control (P < 0.05).