The impact of chlorhexidine gluconate on the relative cell surface hydrophobicity of oral Candida albicans


Prof LP Samaranayake, Chair Professor of Oral Microbiology, Faculty of Dentistry, The Prince Philip Dental Hospital, 34 Hospital Road, Hong Kong. Fax: 00 852 2547 6133, Tel: 00 852 2859 0480,


OBJECTIVES: Adherence of Candida albicans has been implicated as the first step in the pathogenesis of oral candidosis, and its relative cell surface hydrophobicity (CSH) a contributory physical force. Chlorhexidine gluconate is by far the commonest antiseptic mouthwash prescribed in dentistry. The intra-oral concentrations of the retained chlorhexidine mouthwash fluctuate considerably due to the dilution effect of saliva and the cleansing action of the oral musculature. Hence the objective of the present study was to investigate the effect of brief exposure to sub-therapeutic concentrations of chlorhexidine gluconate on the relative CSH of C. albicans.

DESIGN: The CSH of the isolates was assessed by a biphasic aqueous-hydrocarbon assay.

RESULTS: A statistically significant reduction in CSH was observed following the exposure of Candida isolates to 0.005 and 0.0025% chlorhexidine gluconate.

CONCLUSIONS: These results elucidate additional mechanisms by which chlorhexidine gluconate suppress candidal pathogenicity despite a brief period of transient exposure within the oral environment.