Comparative analysis of putative periodontopathic bacteria by multiplex polymerase chain reaction

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Background and Objective

The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) has been applied for the rapid and specific detection of periodontopathic bacteria in subgingival plaque and is potentially of clinical benefit in the diagnosis and treatment of periodontitis subjects. However, several technical points need to be modified before the conventional PCR detection system can be used by clinicians.

Material and Methods

To develop a PCR-based technique more applicable for clinical use than conventional PCR, we established a multiplex PCR for five putative periodontopathic (Treponema denticola, Porphyromonas gingivalis, Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, Prevotella intermedia and Tannerella forsythia) and two nonperiodontopathic (Streptococcus sanguinis and Streptococcus salivarius) species of bacteria using whole-plaque suspension as templates, and detected bacteria in subgingival plaque taken from 85 subjects at the supportive periodontal therapy stage after active periodontal treatments.


Among putative periodontopathic bacteria, the detection frequency of T. denticola and P. gingivalis was elevated in parallel with higher probing pocket depth and clinical attachment loss, and had 4.2–14.1 times increasing odds of the clinical parameters tested. Detection of any of the five species of putative periodontopathic bacteria markedly increased the odds ratio of a higher probing pocket depth, clinical attachment loss and bleeding on probing.


The multiplex PCR system developed in this study enabled the detection of all the bacteria under investigation in one reaction tube in a less time- and labor-intensive manner than conventional PCR. These results support the potential clinical use of multiplex PCR for detecting periodontopathic bacteria and for evaluating therapeutic strategies and predicting the prognosis for each subject.

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