Periodontitis is associated with members of the oral microbiota, such as Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans. To our knowledge, this is the first study to evaluate, by PCR, the occurrence of the six known bacterium serotypes that included subjects with and without periodontitis. Our group comprised 49 Brazilian subjects. We studied 146 bacterial isolates from 23 patients with aggressive or chronic periodontitis and 26 subgingival specimens from subjects with or without periodontitis, all originating in our collection. Serotypes b and c were observed in similar frequencies, and no subject harboured d, e, or f serotype strains. Around 78% subjects had single-serotype infection. Mixed infection was seen only in aggressive periodontitis patients. An association between serotype b and healthy periodontium and between serotype c and chronic periodontitis was observed. Our results diverge from those previously reported, which may be explained by specific distribution patterns in distinct populations. The association of different serotypes with the same periodontal status or conversely of a serotype with different periodontal conditions indicates that organism serotyping should not be used as a sole reliable marker for predicting the outcome of the infection. Evaluation of factors involved in human oral cavity colonization by subsets of A. actinomycetemcomitans is essential for elucidating organism-host-environment relationships.
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