Application of denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) to the analysis of endodontic infections

José F. Siqueira, Isabela N. Rôças, Alexandre S. Rosado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The recent expanding use of cultivation-independent techniques for bacterial identification is reliant on the lack of knowledge of the conditions under which most bacteria are growing in their natural habitat and the difficulty to develop culture media that accurately reproduce these conditions. A molecular method that has been recently used in several areas to examine the bacterial diversity living in diverse environments is the denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). In DGGE, polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-generated DNA fragments of the same length but with different base-pair sequences can be separated. Separation is based on electrophorectic mobility of a partially melted double-strand DNA molecule in polyacrylamide gels, which is decreased when compared with that of the completely helical form of the molecule. Molecules with different sequences may have a different melting behavior and will therefore stop migrating at different positions in the gel. Application of the PCR-DGGE method in endodontic research has revealed that there are significant differences in the predominant bacterial composition between asymptomatic and symptomatic cases. This suggests that the structure of the bacterial community can play a role in the development of symptoms. In addition, new bacterial phylotypes have been disclosed in primary endodontic infections. PCR-DGGE has also confirmed that intra-radicular infections are a common finding in root-filled teeth associated with persistent periradicular lesions. The microbiota in failed cases significantly vary from teeth to teeth, with a mean number of species far higher than previously shown by culturing approaches. Application of the PCR-DGGE technique in endodontic microbiology research has the potential to shed light on several aspects of the different types of endodontic infection as well as on the effects of treatment procedures with regard to infection control. Copyright © 2005 by the American Association of Endodontists.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)775-782
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Endodontics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005
Externally publishedYes


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