Evaluation of the Incidence of Periodontitis-Associated Bacteria in the Atherosclerotic Plaque of Coronary Blood Vessels

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Unstable atherosclerotic plaque is a dangerous clinical condition, possibly leading to acute coronary defi ciency resulting in cardiac infarction. Questions about the role of inflammatory factors in the formation of pathological lesions in the endothelium of coronary vessels have often been raised. This condition may be caused by bacteria that are able to initiate clot formation in a blood vessel, destabilizing an atherosclerotic plaque that is already present. The sources of these pathogens are chronic inflammatory processes occurring in the host, including periodontal disease, which is one of the most frequent conditions. The aim of this study was to evaluate the incidence of selected anaerobic bacteria in subgingival and atherosclerotic plaque in patients treated surgically because of coronary vessel obliteration.


The study was performed on 20 individuals with chronic periodontitis. Subgingival plaque was collected from periodontal pockets >5 mm. DNA testing was used to identify eight pathogens responsible for periodontal tissue destruction. Material from atherosclerotic plaques was collected from the same patients during bypass surgery, and DNA testing by the same method was performed.


In 13 of 20 patients, the pathogens most frequently found in severe chronic periodontitis were also found in coronary vessels. In 10 cases, those species of bacteria were also present in atherosclerotic plaque. The most frequently identi fied bacteria were Porphyromonas gingivalis and Treponema denticola.


In patients with the severe form of chronic periodontitis, it seems that clinical attachment loss is not associated with bacterial permeability into coronary vessels. What is important is the presence of an active inflammatory process expressed by a significantly higher bleeding index in those patients in whom the examined bacterial species were found in atherosclerotic plaque. J Periodontol 2007;78:322-327.

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