Cell-wall-deficient Bacteria in Oral Biofilm: Association with Periodontitis
Cell-wall-deficient bacteria are those that lack cell walls and live in a pleomorphic state. The genus Mycoplasma and L-form bacteria are both members of this group. The aim of this study was to search cell-wall-deficient bacteria in periodontal biofilm and link their presence to periodontal disease. Eighty-nine individuals were recruited and divided into three groups: periodontally healthy individuals, individuals with chronic periodontitis, and those with aggressive periodontitis. The
... ntitis. The presence of cell-wall-deficient bacteria was detected in freshly collected biofilm by light microscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM) with and without electron microscopy in situ hybridization, atomic force microscopy and DNA stain (Hoechst). A new dichotomic index of classification for prevalence and morphologic variants was developed to classify cell-wall-deficient bacteria in periodontal biofilm. Cell-wall-deficient bacteria were found in periodontal biofilm and classified into Protoplastic, Everted, Filament and Intracellular forms, the last one mainly associated with aggressive periodontitis. We also assessed the prevalence of periodontopathic bacteria by means of polymerase chain-reaction (PCR) and found no clear, statistically significant, correlation among periodontal pathogens tested (except T. denticola) that allowed individuals with chronic periodontitis to be distinguished from those with aggressive periodontitis. Association between cell-wall-deficient bacteria and periodontal condition was: periodontally healthy, 3.3% (1/30); individuals with chronic periodontitis, 30.6% (11/36); and those with aggressive periodontitis, 100% (23/23). Cell-wall-deficient bacteria were detected in periodontal biofilm and linked to aggressive periodontitis.