Isolation and characterization of Streptococcus mutans in heart valve and dental plaque specimens from a patient with infective endocarditis

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Abstract

Streptococcus mutans, known to be an aetiologic agent of dental caries, also causes infective endocarditis (IE), although a comparison of isolates from the oral cavity and infected heart valve of the same patient has not been reported. In the present study, infected heart valve and dental plaque samples from a patient with IE were analysed. Broad-range PCR with DNA sequencing revealed that 50 clones from the dental plaque isolates were composed of oral streptococci and periodontopathic bacteria, whereas only Streptococcus mutans was detected in 50 clones from the heart valve. Eighteen strains of Streptococcus mutans were isolated from dental plaque and seven from the heart valve, and the biochemical properties of each were in accordance with those of Streptococcus mutans. DNA fingerprinting analysis revealed that all the oral isolates of Streptococcus mutans had similar patterns, which were different from those of the isolates from the infected heart valve. Western blotting using glucosyltransferase (GTF)-specific antiserum showed that the seven strains from the heart valve lacked the three types of intact GTF. In addition, the sucrose-dependent adhesion rates of these isolates were significantly lower than those of the oral isolates (P<0.001). Furthermore, the isolates from the heart valve were less susceptible to erythromycin and kanamycin. These results indicate that the properties of the Streptococcus mutans strains isolated from the infected valve were different from those of typical oral strains, which may be related to the effects of IE.

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