ACS Biomater Sci Eng. 2021 Oct 1. doi: 10.1021/acsbiomaterials.1c00926. Online ahead of print.
Candida-associated denture stomatitis is a recurring disease affecting up to 67% of denture wearers. Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) remains the main material employed in the fabrication of dentures due to its desirable physical, mechanical, and aesthetic properties. However, the improvement of its antimicrobial properties remains a challenge. To address this need, we developed PMMA composite filled with piezoelectric nanoparticles of barium titanate (BaTiO3) for therapeutic effects. Candida albicans biofilms were cultivated on the surface of the composites under continuous cyclic mechanical loading to activate the piezoelectric charges and to resemble mastication patterns. The interactions between biofilms and biomaterials were evaluated by measuring the biofilm biomass, metabolic activity, and the number of viable cells. To explore the antifungal mechanisms, changes in the expression of genes encoding adhesins and superoxide dismutase were assessed using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. With the addition of piezoelectric nanoparticles, we observed a significant reduction in the biofilm formation and interference in the yeast-to-hyphae transition compared to the standard PMMA. Moreover, we observed that the cyclic deformation of biomaterial surfaces without antifungal agents produced increased biomass, metabolic activity, and a number of viable cells compared to the static/no-deformed surfaces. Cyclic deformation appears to be a novel mechanobiological signal that enables pathogenicity and virulence of C. albicans cells with increased expression of the yeast-to-hyphae transition genes. The outcome of this study opens new opportunities for the design of antifungal dentures for improved clinical service and reduced need for cleaning methods.