Subgingival distribution of A. actinomycetemcomitans in periodontitis

J. L. Ebersole, D. Cappelli, M. ‐N Sandoval

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Abstract This investigation developed an experimental design that (1) detailed the distribution of A. actinomycetemcomitans in Subgingival plaque related to the level of serum antibody to this pathogen; (2) used broad based subgingival plaque sampling to allow a definition of the distribution of A. actinomycetemcomitans infection in periodontitis patients; (3) described the distribution of A. actinomycetemcomitans serotypes in patients and within sites; and, (4) assessed how this infection impacted upon local clinical symptoms of disease. We noted a significant positive relationship between the level of IgG anti‐A. actinomycetemcomitans antibody and the frequency of teeth infected until nearly 13 teeth demonstrated an infection. Furthermore, the results showed a generally negative relationship between the antibody level and the burden of A. actinomycetemcomitans in the infected sites. Interproximal sites associated with first molar teeth were the predominant sites for subgingival colonization; incisors were also frequently infected in this population. The first molar teeth also exhibited the greatest level of A. actinomycetemcomitans while the incisors demonstrated a high level of A. actinomycetemcomitans in individual sites. The results clearly indicated the majority of the sites sampled were colonized by a single serotype of A. actinomycetemcomitans. We detected A. actinomycetemcomitans nearly 2 × times more frequently and a significant increase in the proportion of A. actinomycetemcomitans was found in samples obtained from teeth with bleeding on probing. The results also showed a significant trend for both pocket depth and attachment levels to be related to the presence and proportion of A. actinomycetemcomitans in the subgingival plaque. These findings detail the microbiological, immunological and clinical characteristics of a unique subset of periodontitis patients that appear to exhibit disease associated (caused?) with A. actinomycetemcomitans infection irrespective of clinical categorization. The results support a unique distribution of this microorganism in the subgingival ecology that is related to active host immune responses and clinical presentation of the tooth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-75
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Periodontology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1994


  • A. actinomycetemcomitans
  • antibody
  • periodontitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Periodontics


Dive into the research topics of 'Subgingival distribution of A. actinomycetemcomitans in periodontitis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this