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J Dent Res. 2006 Aug;85(8):761-5.

Treponema denticola in disseminating endodontic infections.

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  • 1Department of Cytokine Biology, The Forsyth Institute, 140 The Fenway, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Treponema denticola is a consensus periodontal pathogen that has recently been associated with endodontic pathology. In this study, the effect of mono-infection of the dental pulp with T. denticola and with polymicrobial "red-complex" organisms (RC) (Porphyromonas gingivalis, Tannerella forsythia, and T. denticola) in inducing disseminating infections in wild-type (WT) and severe-combined-immunodeficiency (SCID) mice was analyzed. After 21 days, a high incidence (5/10) of orofacial abscesses was observed in SCID mice mono-infected with T. denticola, whereas abscesses were rare in SCID mice infected with the red-complex organisms or in wild-type mice. Splenomegaly was present in all groups, but only mono-infected SCID mice had weight loss. T. denticola DNA was detected in the spleen, heart, and brain of mono-infected SCID mice and in the spleen from mono-infected wild-type mice, which also had more periapical bone resorption. The results indicate that T. denticola has high pathogenicity, including dissemination to distant organs, further substantiating its potential importance in oral and linked systemic conditions.

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