Enhanced Anti-Bacterial Activity of Arachidonic Acid against the Cariogenic Bacterium Streptococcus mutans in Combination with Triclosan and Fluoride

Avraham Melkam, Ronit Vogt Sionov, Miriam Shalish, Doron Steinberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dental caries is a global health problem that requires better prevention measures. One of the goals is to reduce the prevalence of the cariogenic Gram-positive bacterium Streptococcus mutans. We have recently shown that naturally occurring arachidonic acid (AA) has both anti-bacterial and anti-biofilm activities against this bacterium. An important question is how these activities are affected by other anti-bacterial compounds commonly used in mouthwashes. Here, we studied the combined treatment of AA with chlorhexidine (CHX), cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC), triclosan, and fluoride. Checkerboard microtiter assays were performed to determine the effects on bacterial growth and viability. Biofilms were quantified using the MTT metabolic assay, crystal violet (CV) staining, and live/dead staining with SYTO 9/propidium iodide (PI) visualized by spinning disk confocal microscopy (SDCM). The bacterial morphology and the topography of the biofilms were visualized by high-resolution scanning electron microscopy (HR-SEM). The effect of selected drug combinations on cell viability and membrane potential was investigated by flow cytometry using SYTO 9/PI staining and the potentiometric dye DiOC2(3), respectively. We found that CHX and CPC had an antagonistic effect on AA at certain concentrations, while an additive effect was observed with triclosan and fluoride. This prompted us to investigate the triple treatment of AA, triclosan, and fluoride, which was more effective than either compound alone or the double treatment. We observed an increase in the percentage of PI-positive bacteria, indicating increased bacterial cell death. Only AA caused significant membrane hyperpolarization, which was not significantly enhanced by either triclosan or fluoride. In conclusion, our data suggest that AA can be used together with triclosan and fluoride to improve the efficacy of oral health care.

Original languageEnglish
Article number540
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 by the authors.


  • anti-bacterial
  • anti-biofilm
  • arachidonic acid
  • cetylpyridinium chloride
  • chlorhexidine
  • fluoride
  • Streptococcus mutans
  • triclosan


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