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Infect Immun. 1982 Jan;35(1):256-63.

Effects of estradiol and progesterone on Bacteroides melaninogenicus and Bacteroides gingivalis.


Bacteroides melaninogenicus subsp. intermedius increases in the subgingival microflora during pregnancy. These studies evaluated direct interactions between hormonal steroids and oral Bacteroides species. Resting cell suspensions of pure cultures of plaque organisms were incubated anaerobically with [14C]estradiol and [14C]progesterone. Uptake of labeled compound per microgram of bacterial protein was determined by thin-layer chromatography and liquid scintillation counting. B. melaninogenicus subsp. intermedius and B. melaninogenicus subsp. melaninogenicus took up 2.6 x 10(-4) to 5.4 x 10(-4) mumol of estradiol or progesterone per microgram of cell protein. Minimal steroid uptake was observed with B. gingivalis and five other organisms. Uptake of steroids by B. melaninogenicus subsp. intermedius was temperature dependent and resulted in a labeled product as detected on thin-layer chromatography. Growth curves indicated that intermedius and melaninogenicus subspecies of B. melaninogenicus but not B. gingivalis could substitute progesterone or estradiol for vitamin K, an essential growth factor. Growth of B. melaninogenicus subsp. intermedius in steroids was concentration dependent. Addition of fumarate to resting cells of B. melaninogenicus subspecies as well as B. gingivalis increased steroid uptake by 70 to 500% and resulted in the gas-liquid chromatographic detection of succinate. Cultures given fumarate alone or steroids alone produced no succinate. Steroids appeared to directly interact with the fumarate reductase system and foster the growth of B. melaninogenicus subsp. intermedius. This interaction may be of ecological significance.

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