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Int Endod J. 2001 Jul;34(5):399-405.

Enterococcus faecalis--a mechanism for its role in endodontic failure.

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Department of Oral Health, University of Otago School of Dentistry, Dunedin, New Zealand.



The aim of this study was to identify a possible mechanism that would explain how E. faecalis could survive and grow within dentinal tubules and reinfect an obturated root canal.


Cells of Streptococcus gordonii DL1, Streptococcus mutans NG8, or E. faecalis JH2-2 were grown in brain heart infusion broth containing various amounts of human serum for 56 days. The ability of the three species to invade dentine and bind to immobilized type I collagen in the presence of human serum was assessed by dentine invasion and microtitre well experiments.


All three species remained viable over the period of the experiment when grown in human serum. Cells of all three bacteria were able to invade dentine and bind to immobilized collagen. Both of these properties were inhibited by the presence of collagen in the cell solution. Human serum inhibited dentine invasion and collagen adhesion by S. gordonii DL1 and S. mutans NG8, whilst dentine invasion by E. faecalis JH2-2 was reduced in the presence of serum, but not inhibited, and binding to collagen was enhanced.


It is postulated that a virulence factor of E. faecalis in failed endodontically treated teeth may be related to the ability of E. faecalis cells to maintain the capability to invade dentinal tubules and adhere to collagen in the presence of human serum.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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