Influence of the blood group reactive substances in saliva on the aggregation of Streptococcus rattus

Antonie van Leeuwenhoek
A J LigtenbergA V Nieuw Amerongen


The interaction of blood group reactive substances in saliva with bacteria was investigated by testing saliva from persons with different blood groups in a bacterial aggregation assay with Streptococcus rattus HG 59, originally S. rattus BHT. For blood group A, saliva from 10 persons out of 11 aggregated S. rattus and for blood group O, saliva from 10 persons out of 16 aggregated S. rattus. For blood group B, saliva from 6 persons out of 8 aggregated S. rattus weakly and the average aggregation activity of blood group B was much lower than for blood group A or O. In addition, saliva from 3 non-secretors did not aggregate S. rattus. The role of blood group antigens in bacterial aggregation was confirmed by inhibition studies with blood group specific sugars and various other sugars. GalNAc, specific for blood group A, inhibited bacterial aggregation by saliva whereas D-galactose, specific for blood group B, and D-fucose, specific for blood group O, did not. In addition, sialic acid, a major terminal sugar residue in mucins, also inhibited the bacterial aggregation. This study shows that the blood group and secretor status of a person may influence the interaction of saliva with bacteria in the oral cavity.


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Blood Group Antigens
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