In vitro phenotypic differentiation towards commensal and pathogenic oral biofilms.

PMID 26212722


Commensal oral biofilms, defined by the absence of pathology-related phenotypes, are ubiquitously present. In contrast to pathological biofilms commensal biofilms are rarely studied. Here, the effect of the initial inoculum and subsequent growth conditions on in vitro oral biofilms was studied. Biofilms were inoculated with saliva and grown anaerobically for up to 21 days in McBain medium with or without fetal calf serum (FCS) or sucrose. Pathology-related phenotypes were quantified and the community composition was determined. Biofilms inoculated with pooled saliva or individual inocula were similar. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) analysis allowed differentiation of biofilms grown with sucrose, but not with FCS. Lactate production by biofilms was significantly increased by sucrose and protease activity by FCS. McBain grown biofilms showed low activity for both phenotypes. Three clinically relevant in vitro biofilm models were developed and could be differentiated based on pathology-related phenotypes but not DGGE analysis. These models allow analysis of health-to-disease shifts and the effectiveness of prevention measures.