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J Clin Microbiol. 2004 Oct;42(10):4620-6.

Longitudinal study of transmission, diversity, and stability of Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sobrinus genotypes in Brazilian nursery children.

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  • 1Department of Oral Diagnosis, State University of Campinas-Piracicaba School of Dentistry, São Paulo, Brazil.


The aim of this study was to perform a follow-up evaluation of the Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sobrinus colonization profile of children's oral cavities, which included the pattern of vertical transmission from mother to child, genotypic diversity, and stability of the strains. The subjects were 16 mother-child pairs, who were monitored for 20 months. Samples of saliva, tongue dorsum, alveolar ridge mucosa, and dental plaque from the children were collected bimonthly. Saliva samples from the mothers were also collected. After isolation and identification, the arbitrarily primed PCR method was performed for the genotypic characterization of S. mutans (968 isolates) and S. sobrinus (111 isolates). At the time the strains were acquired, the children harbored one to four distinct genotypes of S. mutans and only one genotype of S. sobrinus. Although S. mutans prevalence and genotypic diversity were greater than those of S. sobrinus, the presence of matching genotypes of S. mutans and S. sobrinus was similar (in 81.25 and 83.33% of mother-child pairs, respectively), suggesting vertical transmission for both species. This longitudinal study showed an increase in genotypic diversity of S. mutans in the oral cavity during the follow-up period: most of the initially acquired genotypes persisted, normally those genotypes transmitted by the mother, and some were lost during follow-up; new strains were also acquired. In conclusion, S. mutans and S. sobrinus genotypes acquired from maternal or alternative sources may show effective persistence in the oral cavity and/or transitory detection in the children's mouths, reflecting the continuous development of oral microbiota in children.

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