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Anaerobe. 2013 Dec;24:49-54. doi: 10.1016/j.anaerobe.2013.09.001. Epub 2013 Sep 13.

The effects of stress hormones on growth of selected periodontitis related bacteria.

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University Hospital of Leipzig, Department of Cariology, Endodontology and Periodontology, Centre for Periodontology, Liebigstr. 12, D-04103, Germany. Electronic address:


The focus of this study was to examine in vitro the effects of stress hormones (catecholamines: epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine and hydrocortisone: cortisol) on the growth of four anaerobic species of periodontitis-related bacteria (Fusobacterium nucleatum, Porphyromonas gingivalis, Prevotella intermedia and Tannerella forsythia) and one facultative anaerobic species (Eikenella corrodens). Bacterial growth was determined by two different methods: fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), and the viable count by culture method. To simulate stress, each single strain was grown in a special growth medium with three different concentrations of each hormone, using an anaerobic chamber at 37 °C. Growth of F. nucleatum increased in the presence of all stress hormones. Growth of P. gingivalis was not significantly influenced by any hormone. Growth of P. intermedia and E. corrodens was inhibited by almost all stress hormones tested. Both methods of analysis revealed that the highest concentrations of norepinephrine and cortisol increased the growth of T. forsythia. Different hormones have a different effect on the growth of periodontitis-related bacteria in vitro. It appears that bacterial viability is more strongly influenced than is bacterial metabolic activity. The growth of F. nucleatum particularly and partially of T. forsythia is increased by several stress hormones and may have an additional negative impact on periodontal disease.


Anaerobe bacteria; Catecholamine; Cortisol; Periodontal disease; Stress

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