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J Dent. 2013 Sep;41(9):779-86. doi: 10.1016/j.jdent.2013.07.004. Epub 2013 Jul 11.

Antimicrobial resistance and virulence traits of Enterococcus faecalis from primary endodontic infections.

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  • 1School of Dentistry, Rio de Janeiro State University, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. ximenes@uerj.br



To determine the phenotypic and molecular characteristics of Enterococcus faecalis recovered from primary endodontic infections in Brazilian patients.


Twenty isolates of E. faecalis recovered from 43 Brazilian patients with primary endodontic infections were identified by biochemical profiling (API20Strep) and 16S rDNA sequencing. Antimicrobial susceptibility was ascertained by agar dilution, using the recommended protocol of the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI). PCR with validated primers was used to detect genes associated with antibiotic resistance and specific virulence factors.


All isolates were deemed susceptible to penicillin G, erythromycin and vancomycin. However, nine isolates had a minimum inhibitory concentration of 4μg/mL to vancomycin (the resistance breakpoint). Fourteen isolates (70% of isolates) were also resistant to tetracycline with MICs of >64μg/mL. PCR products for tetracycline resistance genes were detected in test isolates, while erythromycin and vancomycin resistance genes were not evident. Gelatinase, aggregation substance and enteroccocal surface protein genes were detected in 20, 18 and 12 isolates, respectively.


Endodontic E. faecalis isolates exhibit high level of resistance to tetracycline, an antibiotic that has use in local treatment of dental infections. This opens up a much-needed debate on the role and efficacy of this antibiotic for oral infections. Furthermore, these isolates were shown to possess genes that could contribute to pathogenicity in the pulp cavity.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Antimicrobial susceptibility; Endodontic infection; Enterococcus faecalis; Genotype

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