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J Periodontol. 2006 Apr;77(4):586-90.

prtH in Tannerella forsythensis is not associated with periodontitis.

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Department of Oral Microbiology, Academic Center for Dentistry Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



It has been suggested that prtH in Tannerella forsythensis encodes for a cystein proteinase that is associated with its pathogenic potential and can discriminate between periodontal health and disease. The aim of this investigation was to further establish this potentially important observation.


A group of 33 consecutive adult patients with periodontitis (mean age: 47.6 +/- 10.1 years) harboring T. forsythensis was selected to investigate the presence of prtH by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The T. forsythensis strains were isolated by anaerobic culture techniques. To investigate the association of this gene with periodontitis, a group of 14 age-matched subjects (mean age: 56.4 +/- 6.9 years) without any signs of periodontal disease (probing depths <3 mm and no radiographic attachment loss) was tested for comparison. Pure isolates and crude subgingival plaque samples were used as a template for the PCR.


In the group of 33 T. forsythensis-positive patients, we found two T. forsythensis isolates to be prtH negative. Despite repeated analyses, testing of the whole subgingival plaque samples revealed only 17 of 33 samples to be prtH positive. The T. forsythensis isolates from the 14 periodontally healthy subjects were all prtH positive. The odds ratio of the presence of prtH in T. forsythensis in periodontitis patients versus healthy controls is 1.06 (P >0.05).


On the basis of our data, we conclude that the presence of prtH in T. forsythensis is not discriminative for patients with T. forsythensis-associated periodontitis compared to healthy carriers of T. forsythensis. In addition, the use of whole subgingival plaque samples to test for the prevalence of prtH in bacteria appeared unreliable. Culture of the microorganism is an important condition to receive a sufficient amount of template DNA to detect the specific locus of the genome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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