Bacterial diversity in necrotizing ulcerative periodontitis in HIV-positive subjects

Ann Periodontol. 2002 Dec;7(1):8-16. doi: 10.1902/annals.2002.7.1.8.


Background: Necrotizing ulcerative periodontitis (NUP) is a painful and potentially debilitating affliction that affects about 2% to 6% of HIV-positive subjects. NUP may be caused by specific microorganisms that are presently unknown or by microbial species not usually thought to cause periodontal infections. The purpose of this study was to define the bacterial species associated with NUP in HIV-positive patients.

Methods: 16S rRNA bacterial genes of DNA isolated from subgingival plaque of 8 HIV-positive subjects with NUP were amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and cloned into Escherichia coli. The sequences of cloned inserts were used to determine species identity or closest relatives by comparison with known sequences. The microbial profiles in subgingival plaque of subjects with NUP, chronic periodontitis, and periodontal health were compared using a battery of over 200 oligonucleotide probes in a PCR-based, reverse-capture, checkerboard DNA-DNA hybridization assay.

Results: Sequence analysis of over 400 clones revealed 108 species; 65 were "uncultivable" phylotypes, of which 26 were novel to NUP subjects. Species or phylotypes most commonly detected were Bulleidia extructa, Dialister, Fusobacterium, Selenomonas, Peptostreptococcus, Veillonella, and the phylum TM7. Based on sequence analysis and checkerboard analysis, NUP did not possess the classical periodontal pathogens such as Porphyromonas gingivalis. Otherwise, the microbial profiles of NUP and periodontitis had many similarities. The microbial profiles of subgingival plaque from periodontally healthy subjects were different and less complex in comparison to the profiles of both disease groups.

Conclusions: Certain species appear to be associated with health and periodontal diseases. The putative pathogens associated with periodontal disease in HIV-negative subjects are not associated with NUP in HIV-positive subjects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bacterial Typing Techniques / methods*
  • DNA, Bacterial / analysis
  • Dental Plaque / microbiology*
  • Female
  • Gingivitis, Necrotizing Ulcerative / complications
  • Gingivitis, Necrotizing Ulcerative / microbiology*
  • HIV Seropositivity / complications
  • HIV Seropositivity / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis / methods
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S