Caister Academic Press

Molecular Approaches to Vaccination against Oral Infections

George Hajishengallis and Michael W. Russell
from: Molecular Oral Microbiology (Edited by: Anthony H. Rogers). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2008)


Given that both dental caries and periodontitis have an infectious etiology, immunization has been proposed as a means of controlling them. However, the approaches vary according to the nature of the bacteria involved and the mechanisms of pathogenesis for these two very different diseases. For dental caries, surface and secreted proteins involved in colonization of teeth by mutans streptococci , and specific functional domains derived from these, have been identified and demonstrated to serve as targets for antibodies that inhibit the cariogenic process. Strategies have been devised to induce salivary secretory IgA antibodies which are particularly well suited to fulfilling this function. Further progress will depend on applying the results from animal models to human trials. Periodontal vaccines are less well developed, but some antigenic targets of two principal agents, Porphyromonas gingivalis and Aggregatibacter a., have been identified. Experiments in rodent and primate models have shown the ability of fimbrial antigens of either, and gingipains from the former, to elicit serum antibodies that inhibit colonization or the pathogenic mechanisms of these bacteria. However, questions remain about the role of host immune responses in the pathogenesis of periodontal disease, and whether current approaches to immunization can modulate these immunopathological processes read more ...
Access full text
Related articles ...