Journal of Gastroenterology

, Volume 47, Issue 8, pp 936–940 | Cite as

Live Helicobacter pylori in the root canal of endodontic-infected deciduous teeth

  • Christian HirschEmail author
  • Nicole Tegtmeyer
  • Manfred Rohde
  • Marion Rowland
  • Omar A. Oyarzabal
  • Steffen BackertEmail author
Rapid Communication



Many polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based studies have shown that Helicobacter pylori DNA is prevalent in the oral cavity, but reports on the isolation of live bacteria are extremely rare. Thus, it is still unclear whether H. pylori can indeed survive in the oral environment.


Here we used electron microscopy, selective growth techniques, urease assays, 16S rRNA PCR, and western blotting to investigate the possible presence of live H. pylori in 10 root canal and corresponding plaque samples of endodontic-infected deciduous teeth in three children.


Although H. pylori DNA was verifiable by PCR in several plaque and root canal samples, bacterial colonies could only be grown from two root canals, but not from plaque. These colonies were unequivocally identified as H. pylori by microscopic, genetic, and biochemical approaches.


Our findings show that root canals of endodontic-infected teeth may be a reservoir for live H. pylori that could serve as a potential source for transmission.


Deciduous teeth Electron microscopy Endodontics Helicobacter pylori Protein profiling Root canal 



We thank Francisco Rivas Traverso for technical support. The work of S.B. is supported through grants by the German Science Foundation (Ba1671/8-1) and Science Foundation Ireland (UCD 09/IN.1/B2609).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Hirsch
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nicole Tegtmeyer
    • 2
  • Manfred Rohde
    • 3
  • Marion Rowland
    • 4
  • Omar A. Oyarzabal
    • 5
  • Steffen Backert
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Paediatric Dentistry, University School of Dental MedicineUniversity of LeipzigLeipzigGermany
  2. 2.UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical SciencesUniversity College DublinDublin 4Ireland
  3. 3.Department of Medical MicrobiologyHelmholtz Centre for Infection ResearchBraunschweigGermany
  4. 4.School for Medicine and Medical ScienceUniversity College DublinDublinIreland
  5. 5.Institute for Environmental Health, Inc.SeattleUSA

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