OBJECTIVE: This study evaluates the presence of virulence factors and antibiotic susceptibility among enterococcal isolates from oral mucosal and deep infections.
METHODS: Forty-three enterococcal strains from oral mucosal lesions and 18 from deep infections were isolated from 830 samples that were sent during 2 years to Oral Microbiology, University of Gothenburg, for analysis. The 61 strains were identified by 16S rDNA, and characterized by the presence of the virulence genes efa A (endocarditis gene), gel E (gelatinase gene), ace (collagen binding antigen gene), asa (aggregation substance gene), cyl A (cytolysin activator gene) and esp (surface adhesin gene), tested for the production of bacteriocins and presence of plasmids. MIC determination was performed using the E-test method against the most commonly used antibiotics in dentistry, for example, penicillin V, amoxicillin and clindamycin. Vancomycin was included in order to detect vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) strains.
RESULTS: Sixty strains were identified as Enterococcus faecalis and one as Enterococcus faecium. All the virulence genes were detected in more than 93.3% (efa A and esp) of the E. faecalis strains, while the presence of phenotypic characteristics was much lower (gelatinase 10% and hemolysin 16.7%). Forty-six strains produced bacteriocins and one to six plasmids were detected in half of the isolates.
CONCLUSIONS: Enterococcal strains from oral infections had a high virulence capacity, showed bacteriocin production and had numerous plasmids. They were generally susceptible to ampicillins but were resistant to clindamycin, commonly used in dentistry, and no VRE-strain was found.
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