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Oral Microbiol Immunol. 2007 Oct;22(5):320-5.

Herpesviruses in asymptomatic apical periodontitis lesions: an immunohistochemical approach.

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Institute of Microbiology Prof Paulo de Góes, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil.



Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) have been recently detected in samples from apical periodontitis lesions by means of molecular biology techniques and a role in the pathogenesis of this disease has been suggested. The present study was designed to survey asymptomatic primary apical periodontitis lesions for the presence of HCMV- and/or EBV-infected cells by means of immunohistochemistry.


Apical periodontitis lesions were obtained from 35 patients [26 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) -seronegative patients and nine HIV-seropositive patients] after tooth extraction and subjected to immunohistochemical analysis using monoclonal antibodies specific for HCMV and EBV.


Fifteen of the 35 apical periodontitis lesions were positive for the target herpesviruses. Overall, EBV was found in 31% of the samples and HCMV in 23%, with 14% of the lesions showing EBV and HCMV dual infection. No association was found between HCMV or EBV with any particular histopathological type of apical periodontitis (P > 0.05). HCMV was significantly more frequent in apical periodontitis lesions from HIV-positive patients (67%) than in lesions from HIV-negative patients (8%) (P = 0.001). EBV was detected in 44% of lesions from HIV-positive patients and in 27% of lesions from HIV-negative patients, but this difference was not significant (P = 0.91).


Our results showed that cells infected by HCMV and EBV can be found in apical periodontitis lesions, with a higher prevalence in HIV-positive patients. The specific role that these viruses play in the pathogenesis of apical periodontitis remains to be described.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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