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J Endod. 2014 Feb;40(2):223-30. doi: 10.1016/j.joen.2013.07.023. Epub 2013 Sep 7.

Antibiotic resistance and capacity for biofilm formation of different bacteria isolated from endodontic infections associated with root-filled teeth.

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Department of Operative Dentistry and Periodontology, Albert-Ludwigs-University, Freiburg, Germany. Electronic address:
Department of Operative Dentistry and Periodontology, Albert-Ludwigs-University, Freiburg, Germany.
Department of Hygiene and Microbiology, Albert-Ludwigs-University, Freiburg, Germany.



To date, a variety of microbial species have been isolated from endodontic infections. However, endodontic clinical bacterial isolates have not been sufficiently characterized with regard to their capacity for antibiotic resistance and biofilm formation. In this study, antibiotic resistance and biofilm formation of 47 different aerobic and anaerobic bacterial isolates, belonging to 32 different species previously isolated from infected filled root canals, were studied.


Antibiotic sensitivity to 11 antibiotics including penicillin G, amoxicillin, clindamycin, gentamicin, vancomycin, tetracycline, doxycycline, fosfomycin, rifampicin, ciprofloxacin, and moxifloxacin was tested using the standardized Etest method (Bio Merieux, Marcy-1'Etoile, France). The antibiotic sensitivity of 4 control strains was also estimated in parallel. Additionally, the capacity to form biofilms was quantified using the microtiter plate test.


Different aerobic and anaerobic bacterial species were either resistant against a number of antibiotics or showed high minimal inhibitory concentrations against clinically relevant antibiotics. Five aerobic and 2 anaerobic isolates, including Enterococcus faecalis, Streptococcus mutans, Lactobacillus fermentum, Actinomyces naeslundii, Actinomyces viscosus, Prevotella buccae, and Propionibacterium acidifaciens, were characterized as being high biofilm producers, whereas 8 aerobic and 3 anaerobic isolates were found to be moderate biofilm producers. Most isolates with resistance or markedly high minimal inhibitory concentration values were also either moderate biofilm producers or high biofilm producers.


These results suggest that the clinical significance of endodontic infections could include that they serve as a reservoir for antibiotic resistance. Furthermore, endodontic treatment should consider the adhesion and biofilm formation by a variety of bacteria.


Antibiotic resistance; apical periodontitis; biofilm; endodontic infection

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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