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Microbes Infect. 2006 Mar;8(3):687-93. Epub 2006 Jan 13.

Detection of bacterial DNA in atheromatous plaques by quantitative PCR.

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  • 1Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine, Department of Periodontology, 3200 South University Drive, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33328, USA.


This is the first study to analyze atheromatous plaques for the presence of bacterial DNA from ten species, including periodontal species and Chlamydia pneumoniae. We examined 129 samples of DNA extracted from atheromas from 29 individuals for the presence of bacterial 16S rDNA sequences from ten different species: Porphyromonas gingivalis, Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans (A.a.), Tannerella forsythensis, Eikenella corrodens, Prevotella intermedia, Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Streptococcus mutans, Treponema denticola and C. pneumoniae. All determinations were made using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) methods employing SYBR Green. Species from the Bacteroides family were found in about 17% of the young but approximately 80% in elderly patients. Almost half of the samples contained DNA from A. a. and C. pneumoniae, although the proportion of the latter was minimal. S. aureus and S. epidermidis were found with the lowest frequency, 5 and 10%, respectively. S. mutans was found in approximately 20% of the samples. The proportions of each bacterial species were calculated relative to the total amount of prokaryotic DNA. The data support our previous findings of an association between periodontal organisms and vascular inflammation. We conclude that DNA from oral infectious agents is commonly found in atheromas from young but especially from elderly subjects, and that the contribution of C. pneumoniae to the inflammation may be minimal.

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