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BioMed Research International
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 7953920, 9 pages
Research Article

Nicotine Enhances Interspecies Relationship between Streptococcus mutans and Candida albicans

1State Key Laboratory of Oral Diseases, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China
2Department of Operative Dentistry and Endodontics, West China Hospital of Stomatology, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Lei Cheng and Mingyun Li

Received 14 November 2016; Accepted 11 January 2017; Published 9 February 2017

Academic Editor: Ernesto S. Nakayasu

Copyright © 2017 Shiyu Liu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Streptococcus mutans and Candida albicans are common microorganisms in the human oral cavity. The synergistic relationship between these two species has been deeply explored in many studies. In the present study, the effect of alkaloid nicotine on the interspecies between S. mutans and C. albicans is explored. We developed a dual-species biofilm model and studied biofilm biomass, biofilm structure, synthesis of extracellular polysaccharides (EPS), and expression of glucosyltransferases (Gtfs). Biofilm formation and bacterial and fungal cell numbers in dual-species biofilms increased in the presence of nicotine. More C. albicans cells were present in the dual-species biofilms in the nicotine-treated groups as determined by scanning electron microscopy. The synthesis of EPS was increased by 1 mg/ml of nicotine as detected by confocal laser scanning microscopy. The result of qRT-PCR showed gtfs expression was upregulated when 1 mg/ml of nicotine was used. We speculate that nicotine promoted the growth of S. mutans, and more S. mutans cells attracted more C. albicans cells due to the interaction between two species. Since S. mutans and C. albicans are putative pathogens for dental caries, the enhancement of the synergistic relationship by nicotine may contribute to caries development in smokers.