Detection of Porphyromonas gingivalis, Porphyromonas endodontalis, Prevotella intermedia, and Prevotella nigrescens in chronic endodontic infection

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Black-pigmented anaerobic rods such as Prevotella spp. and Porphyromonas spp. are involved in the etiology and perpetuation of endodontic infections. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of these species in chronic endodontic infections by using culture and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques. Samples of 100 patients with root canals displaying chronic endodontic infections were obtained by sterilized paper points. Bacterial identification was performed by using culture and PCR techniques. By culture, in 33% of the samples, P. intermedia–P. nigrescens (75.8%), P. gingivalis (27.3%), and P. endodontalis (9.1%) were identified, and by PCR 60% of the samples harbored P. nigrescens (43.3%), P. gingivalis (43.3%), P. intermedia (31.7%), and P. endodontalis (23.3%). The presence of these black-pigmented anaerobic rods alone or in association in chronic endodontic infections seems to be frequent. PCR is a very sensitive technique for detecting DNA from bacterial cells. Culturing is only able to reveal living bacteria and is less sensitive for the identification of low numbers of bacterial cells.

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