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Keywords:

  • probiotics;
  • salivary IgA;
  • mutans streptococci;
  • Lactobacillus reuteri

Abstract

We investigated whether ingestion of probiotic bacteria could influence salivary IgA levels, specific anti-mutans streptococci IgA levels and specific antibodies towards the ingested probiotic bacterium. The study was a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, where the test group (n = 11) received twice daily chewing of gum containing Lactobacillus reuteri (2 × 108 CFU per dose) and the control group (n = 12) received placebo. Resting saliva was collected before and after 12 weeks of treatment and 4 weeks after end of treatment. Total salivary IgA concentrations were measured by ELISA. Specific IgA reactivity was determined using a whole-cell ELISA. Results were expressed as % IgA per protein in saliva. The level of total IgA% per protein increased significantly between pretreatment levels (13.5%) and follow-up treatment levels (14.4%) within the test group only (P < 0.05). No changes were seen in the control group during the trial. The level of probiotic-reactive antibodies decreased significantly between pre- and post-treatment samples (from 12.2% to 9.0%, P < 0.05) in the test group. Similarly, the level of specific mutans streptococci antibodies decreased significantly between pre- and post-treatment samples (P < 0.05) in the test group only (for Streptococcus mutans from 20.1% to 15.0%; for Streptococcus sobrinus from 7.4% to 5.3%). Ingestion of probiotic bacteria might influence the adaptive immune response of the host.