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Anaerobe. 2012 Dec;18(6):576-80. doi: 10.1016/j.anaerobe.2012.10.001. Epub 2012 Oct 26.

Antibiotic resistance genes in anaerobic bacteria isolated from primary dental root canal infections.

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Department of Endodontics and Molecular Microbiology Laboratory, Faculty of Dentistry, Estácio de Sá University, Rua Alfredo Baltazar da Silveira, 580/cobertura, Recreio, Rio de Janeiro 22790-710, RJ, Brazil.


Fourty-one bacterial strains isolated from infected dental root canals and identified by 16S rRNA gene sequence were screened for the presence of 14 genes encoding resistance to beta-lactams, tetracycline and macrolides. Thirteen isolates (32%) were positive for at least one of the target antibiotic resistance genes. These strains carrying at least one antibiotic resistance gene belonged to 11 of the 26 (42%) infected root canals sampled. Two of these positive cases had two strains carrying resistance genes. Six out of 7 Fusobacterium strains harbored at least one of the target resistance genes. One Dialister invisus strain was positive for 3 resistance genes, and 4 other strains carried two of the target genes. Of the 6 antibiotic resistance genes detected in root canal strains, the most prevalent were blaTEM (17% of the strains), tetW (10%), and ermC (10%). Some as-yet-uncharacterized Fusobacterium and Prevotella isolates were positive for blaTEM, cfxA and tetM. Findings demonstrated that an unexpectedly large proportion of dental root canal isolates, including as-yet-uncharacterized strains previously regarded as uncultivated phylotypes, can carry antibiotic resistance genes.

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