Polymorphonuclear neutrophil integrity and functionality are preserved when exposed to saliva

P. Rijkschroeff, S.T.G. Gunput, A.J.M. Ligtenberg, E.C.I. Veerman, B.G. Loos, E.A. Nicu

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: Polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs) are the most abundant innate immune cells and are also important effectors in the maintenance of oral health. However, little is known about the effects of saliva on the PMN. We therefore aimed to investigate the effect of saliva on the PMNs’ morphology and functioning.
Design: Effect of saliva on the membrane integrity of PMNs isolated from blood was evaluated with FACS using Annexin V (apoptosis marker) and propidum iodide (membrane integrity marker). The effect on cell morphology was examined using transmission electron imaging. Binding and phagocytosis of the oral bacterium Fusobacterium nucleatum by PMNs was analysed by FACS. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) production was measured with chemiluminescence.
Results: Incubation with saliva for 60 min had no detectable effects on the membrane integrity or the morphology of PMNs. In contrast, preincubation of F. nucleatum with saliva inhibited its subsequent interaction with PMNs, resulting in a diminished production of ROS.
Conclusions: Saliva does not impair the function of PMNs. However, interaction of salivary components with F. nucleatum may affect their recognition by PMNs resulting in a diminished functional response.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-74
JournalArchives of Oral Biology
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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