Prevalence of Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans in an ethnic adult Chinese population

Kai Soo Tan, Chee Hoe Woo, Grace Ong, Keang Peng Song

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Aim: The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and the structure of the leukotoxin promoter region of Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans in an ethnic Chinese population. Method: Subgingival plaque samples were collected from 42 patients with moderate to advanced periodontitis and 50 periodontally healthy patients. A. actinomycetemcomitans was detected directly from the crude subgingival plaque by PCR using leukotoxin gene specific primers. The presence of A. actinomycetemcomitans was determined by a single 285 bp PCR amplicon. Results: A. actinomycetemcomitans was found to be present in the subgingival plaque of 68 out of a total of 92 patients examined (74%). 29 out of the 42 periodontitis patients tested were carriers of A. actinomycetemcomitans (69%). Among the periodontally healthy patients studied, 39 out of 50 subjects possessed the bacteria (78%). PCR analysis of the promoter region of the ltx operon revealed that none of the 42 moderate to advanced periodontitis patients examined harboured A. actinomycetemcomitans strains with the JP2-like promoter of the ltx operon, known to enhance leukotoxin expression. 2 out of the 27 advanced periodontitis patients clinically diagnosed as suffering from rapidly progressive periodontitis were found to be carriers of the mildly toxic strain of A. actinomycetemcomitans with the characteristic 652-like promoter. Conclusions: The high prevalence of A. actinomycetemcomitans, regardless of whether the subgingival samples were analysed from patients with healthy or diseased periodontium suggests that this bacterial species is part of the normal oral flora of ethnic Chinese. Our preliminary results also suggested that subjects who harboured the mildly toxic strain of A. actinomycetemcomitans were potentially susceptible to aggressive forms of periodontitis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)886-890
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Periodontology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans
  • Chinese
  • Leukotoxin
  • Periodontitis

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