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Oral Microbiol Immunol. 1996 Aug;11(4):266-73.

Polymerase chain reaction detection of 8 putative periodontal pathogens in subgingival plaque of gingivitis and advanced periodontitis lesions.

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Department of Periodontology, School of Dentistry, University of Southern California, Los Angeles 90089-0641, USA.


A 16S rRNA-based polymerase chain reaction (PCR) detection method was used to determine the prevalence of Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans, Bacteroides forsythus, Campylobacter rectus, Eikenella corrodens, Porphyromonas gingivalis, Prevotella intermedia. Prevotella nigrescens and Treponema denticola in subgingival specimens of 50 advanced periodontitis, 50 adult gingivitis and 50 pediatric gingivitis subjects. The optimal PCR conditions were determined for each study species. Agarose gel electrophoresis of PCR products from each study species revealed a single band of the predicted size. Restriction enzyme digestion of amplicons confirmed the specificity of the amplification. PCR detection limits were in the range of 25-100 cells. No cross-reactivity with other oral micro-organisms or nonspecific amplification was observed. The prevalence by PCR in advanced periodontitis, adult gingivitis and pediatric gingivitis subjects was 30%, 14% and 14% for A. actinomycetemcomitans, 86%, 18% and 8% for B. forsythus, 74%, 52% and 78% for C. rectus, 80%, 70% and 66% for E. corrodens, 70%, 10% and 14% for P. gingivalis, 58%, 12% and 18% for P. intermedia, 52%, 20% and 22% for P. nigrescens, and 54%, 16% and 16% for T. denticola, respectively. The prevalence was higher in the advanced periodontitis group than in both adult gingivitis and pediatric gingivitis for A. actinomycetemcomitans, B. forsythus, P. gingivalis, P. intermedia, P. nigrescens and T. denticola at P < 0.01, and for E. corrodens at P < 0.05. The prevalence of C. rectus was significantly higher in the advanced periodontitis group than in the adult gingivitis group at P < 0.01. Matching results between PCR and culture occurred in 28% (B. forsythus) to 71% (A. actinomycetemcomitans) of the samples; the major discrepancy occurred in the PCR-positive/culture-negative category. Matching results between PCR and DNA probe methods were found in 84% of the subjects (B. forsythus) and 70% (P. gingivalis). Odds ratio analysis revealed statistically significant positive associations between 17 of the 28 possible combinations (P < 0.01). This study demonstrated the utility of a 16S rRNA-based PCR detection method for identifying important subgingival microorganisms. The results indicated a strong association between the study species and periodontitis. Several previously unreported symbiotic relationships were found between the 8 species tested.

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