Campylobacter gracilis and Campylobacter rectus in primary endodontic infections

Int Endod J. 2003 Mar;36(3):174-80. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2591.2003.00636.x.


Aim: A species-specific nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay was used to investigate the occurrence of Campylobacter gracilis and C. rectus in primary root canal infections.

Methodology: Samples were collected from 57 single-rooted teeth with carious lesions, necrotic pulps and radiographic evidence of periradicular disease. Twenty-eight cases were diagnosed as chronic asymptomatic periradicular lesions, 12 cases as acute apical periodontitis, and 17 cases as acute periradicular abscess. DNA was extracted from the samples and initially amplified using universal 16S rDNA primers. A second round of amplification using the first PCR products was performed to specifically detect C. gracilis or C. rectus in the samples.

Results: Campylobacter gracilis and C. rectus were, respectively, detected in 21.4 (6 of 28) and 30% (6 of 20) of the root canals associated with chronic asymptomatic periradicular lesions. Campylobacter gracilis was found in 16.7% (2 of 12) of the cases diagnosed as acute apical periodontitis, whilst C. rectus was found in 33.3% (two of six cases). In the abscessed cases, C. gracilis and C. rectus were detected in 23.5 (4 of 17) and 11.8% (2 of 17) of the cases, respectively. No association of these species with clinical symptoms was observed (P > 0.01) In general, species-specific nPCR allowed the detection of C. gracilis in 21.1% (12 of 57) and C. rectus in 23.3% (10 of 43)of the samples taken from primary endodontic infections.

Conclusions: Findings confirmed the assertion that both C. gracilis and C. rectus participate in infections of endodontic origin and suggest a pathogenetic role with regard to periradicular diseases.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bacterial Typing Techniques
  • Campylobacter / pathogenicity*
  • Campylobacter Infections / microbiology*
  • DNA, Bacterial / analysis
  • Dental Caries / microbiology
  • Dental Pulp Necrosis / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Periapical Periodontitis / microbiology*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • DNA, Bacterial