Detection of bacterial virulence genes associated with infective endocarditis in infected root canals

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AIM: The aim of this study was to examine whether bacteria associated with root canals possess genes that might predispose to bacterial colonization of the endocardium. METHODOLOGY: Oligonucleotides were designed from DNA sequences encoding the functional binding regions of streptococcal fibronectin-binding protein (FnBP) and staphylococcal fibrinogen-binding protein (FgBP). The specificity and cross-reactivity of the oligonucleotide primers were investigated; streptococcal primers were tested for recognition of FnBP genes in other strains of streptococci, and the staphylococcal primers for detection of FgBP from other staphylococci. Interspecies specificity of these primers was also investigated. In a pilot clinical study, the pulp chambers of 16 nonvital teeth without sinus tracts, were opened aseptically. Root canal samples were collected, along with samples from the gingival sulcus and anterior nares. From these samples DNA was extracted, subjected to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and analysed by agarose gel electrophoresis. RESULTS: Using the streptococcal FnBP primers, PCR bands were amplified from eight root canal samples, eight gingival samples and three nasal samples. With the staphylococcal primers, PCR bands were amplified from seven root canals, 11 gingival and nine nasal samples. This study showed that PCR could be used to detect bacteria in root canals that possess genes with homology to functional regions of those encoding FnBP or FgBP. CONCLUSIONS: If bacteria in root canals possess FnBP or FgBP, they may have the potential to cause infective endocarditis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194 - 203
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Endodontic Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2000


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