Comparison of culture and polymerase chain reaction techniques in the identification of Tannerella forsythia in periodontal health and disease, an in vitro study

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Publisher: Medknow Publications and Media Pvt. Ltd.
Document Type: Report
Length: 3,538 words
Lexile Measure: 1680L

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Byline: Praveen. Bankur, Aarati. Nayak, Kishore. Bhat, Rashmi. Bankur, Reshma. Naik, Nami. Rajpoot

Background and Objectives: Various bacterial species from subgingival biofilm have demonstrated aetiological relevance in the initiation and progression of periodontitis. The aim of this study was to detect the presence of Tannerella forsythia (Tf) in subgingival plaque of periodontally healthy subjects and chronic periodontitis patients by using both culture and PCR technique and compare the two techniques. Materials and Methods: Pooled subgingival plaque samples were taken using sterile curettes from predetermined sites in 50 periodontally healthy subjects and from 50 periodontitis subjects. Samples were analyzed for the presence of T. forsythia using both techniques. Statistical analysis of the results was done using Chi-square test, sensitivity, and specificity tests. Results: Both techniques could detect T. forsythia in subgingival plaque samples from healthy and periodontitis subjects. Periodontally healthy individuals and individuals with chronic periodontitis using the culture technique showed the presence of T. forsythia in 14 and 34%, respectively. PCR technique showed the presence of T. forsythia in 20% healthy and 40% chronic periodontitis patients. T. forsythia detection in the periodontitis group was statistically significantly higher when compared to the healthy group by both culture and PCR technique (P = 0.019 and P = 0.029). PCR demonstrated high sensitivity and low specificity when compared to the culture technique. Conclusion: The results indicated that T. forsythia was more prevalent in periodontitis patients when compared with healthy subjects. The PCR was found to be more sensitive than culture technique for detection of T. forsythia from the subgingival plaque samples.


The oral ecosystem accommodates various species of organisms from birth to death, in health and disease. Many of these have been implicated in the pathogenesis of periodontal disease. The search is on to investigate the pathological potential of various bacteria responsible for periodontal diseases. One such organism has been Tannerella forsythia ( Tf ), a gram-negative anaerobic rod with tapered ends, described as fusiform bacteroides in one of the culture report of progressing advanced periodontitis. [sup][1]

Past difficulties with identification and culture of T. forsythia have probably been the main reasons why this organism has not been as extensively studied as other putative periodontal pathogens.

We researched to unearth data on the role of Tf in periodontal disease in Indian population. We were astonished to note that very little published data were available to associate T. forsythia in periodontal diseases in the Indian population. This prompted us to undertake a study to detect the presence of Tannerella forsythia in periodontal health and disease using culture and the PCR technique and compare the two techniques of detection.

Materials and Methods

A total of 100 subjects were grouped in two groups of 50 each based on the recordings of the following parameters. Plaque index, [sup][2] Gingival index, [sup][2] Gingival Bleeding Index, [sup][3],[4] Probing Pocket Depth (PD) and Clinical Attachment Level (CAL). Study population by diagnosis, number, and gender are shown in [Table 1].{Table 1}

Periodontally healthy subjects showed no signs of gingival inflammation...

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Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|A366302757