Relationship between human cytomegalovirus transcription and symptomatic apical periodontitis in Iran

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Apical periodontitis of endodontic origin may develop as a result of cooperative interactions among herpesviruses, specific pathogenic bacteria and tissue-destructive inflammatory mediators. This study sought to identify the presence of Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) and human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) transcripts in symptomatic and asymptomatic periapical lesions of individuals living in Iran.

Material and methods

Fifty endodontic patients (28 with symptomatic periapical lesions and 22 with asymptomatic periapical lesions) were included in the study. In each study subject, a microbiological periapical sample was collected using a curette in conjunction with periapical surgery. A reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction assay was used to identify transcripts of EBV and HCMV.


Human cytomegalovirus transcript was detected in 15 of the 28 (53.6%) symptomatic and in six of the 22 (27.3%) asymptomatic periapical study lesions (significant difference between symptomatic and asymptomatic lesions; P = 0.03, chi-square test). Epstein–Barr virus transcript was identified in one symptomatic and in two asymptomatic periapical lesions.


This study establishes that HCMV transcription is common in apical periodontitis and is most frequent in symptomatic lesions. The high frequency of active herpesvirus infections in severe apical periodontitis changes the pathogenic paradigm of the disease and may also have preventive and therapeutic implications.

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