Prevalence of β-lactam (blaTEM) and Metronidazole (nim) Resistance Genes in the Oral Cavity of Greek Subjects

Georgios Koukos1, *, Antonios Konstantinidis2, Lazaros Tsalikis2, Minas Arsenakis3, Theodora Slini4, Dimitra Sakellari2
1 251 General Air Force Hospital, Department of Periodontology, Athens, Greece
2 Department of Preventive Dentistry, Periodontology and Implant Biology, Dental School, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
3 Department of Genetics and Molecular Biology, School of Biology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
4 Department of Mechanical Engineering, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

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© Koukos et al. ; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International Public License (CC BY-NC 4.0) (, which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Cpt-Georgios Koukos Department of Periodontology 251 General Air Force Hospital, Kanelopoulou 3, 11525, Athens, Greece; Tel.: 0030 6983520282; E-mail:



The aim of this study is to investigate the prevalence of blaTEM and nim genes that encode resistance to β-lactams and nitroimidazoles, respectively, in the oral cavity of systemically healthy Greek subjects.

Materials and Methodology:

After screening 720 potentially eligible subjects, 154 subjects were recruited for the study, including 50 periodontally healthy patients, 52 cases of gingivitis and 52 cases of chronic periodontitis. The clinical parameters were assessed with an automated probe. Various samples were collected from the tongue, first molars and pockets >6mm, and analysed by polymerase chain reaction-amplification of the blaTEM and nim genes, using primers and conditions previously described in the literature.


There was a high rate of detection of blaTEM in plaque and tongue samples alike in all periodontal conditions (37% of plaque and 60% of tongue samples, and 71% of participants). The blaTEM gene was detected more frequently in the tongue samples of the periodontally healthy (56%) and chronic periodontitis (62%) groups compared to the plaque samples from the same groups (36% and 29%, respectively; z-test with Bonferroni corrections-tests, P<0.05). The nim gene was not detected in any of the 343 samples analysed.


The oral cavity of Greek subjects often harbours blaTEM but not nim genes, and therefore the antimicrobial activity of β-lactams might be compromised.

Keywords: β-Lactams, blaTEM gene, metronidazole, microbial resistance, nim gene.