Oral Chlamydia trachomatis in patients with established periodontitis
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Periodontitis is considered a consequence of a pathogenic microbial infection at the periodontal site and host susceptibility factors. Periodontal research supports the association of Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans, Porphyromonas gingivalis, Prevotella intermedia, and Bacteroides forsythus, and periodontitis; however, causality has not been demonstrated. In pursuit of the etiology of periodontitis, we hypothesized that the intracellular bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis may play a role. As a first step, a cross-sectional study of dental school clinic patients with established periodontitis were assessed for the presence of C. trachomatis in the oral cavity, and in particular from the lining epithelium of periodontal sites. C. trachomatis was detected using a direct fluorescent monoclonal antibody (DFA) in oral specimens from 7% (6/87) of the patients. Four patients tested positive in specimens from the lining epithelium of diseased periodontal sites, one patient tested positive in healthy periodontal sites, and one patient tested positive in the general mucosal specimen. In conclusion, this study provides preliminary evidence of C. trachomatis in the periodontal sites. Planned studies include the use of a more precise periodontal epithelial cell collection device, the newer nucleic acid amplification techniques to detect C. trachomatis, and additional populations to determine the association of C. trachomatis and periodontitis.
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