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Search for Mycobacterium paratuberculosis DNA in orofacial granulomatosis and oral Crohn’s disease tissue by polymerase chain reaction
  1. M P Riggio,
  2. J Gibson,
  3. A Lennon,
  4. D Wray,
  5. D G MacDonald
  1. Infection and Immunity Research Group, Glasgow Dental Hospital and School, Glasgow, UK
  1. Dr M P Riggio, Level 9, Glasgow Dental Hospital and School, 378 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow G2 3JZ, UK.


Background Although intestinal Crohn’s disease has long been suspected to have a mycobacterial cause, possible mycobacterial involvement in orofacial granulomatosis (OFG) and oral lesions of Crohn’s disease has not yet been investigated.

Aims As the slow growingMycobacterium paratuberculosis has been implicated in the aetiology of intestinal Crohn’s disease, the potential involvement of this mycobacterial species in OFG and oral lesions of Crohn’s disease was investigated.

Patients To attempt detection of the organism in OFG and oral Crohn’s disease tissue samples, a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay was used on archival formalin fixed, paraffin wax embedded oral tissue sections from 30 patients with OFG, seven with Crohn’s disease, and 12 normal controls.

Methods The PCR assay used was based on primers targeting the 5′ region of the multicopy IS900 DNA insertion element of the M paratuberculosis genome. In order to achieve maximum sensitivity, two rounds of PCR were carried out and amplicons confirmed by Southern blot hybridisation to a digoxigenin labelled IS900 DNA probe.

Results None of the OFG and oral lesions of Crohn’s disease samples were positive forM paratuberculosis and all normal controls were also negative.

Conclusions These results suggest that M paratuberculosis may not be a major aetiological agent in OFG or oral Crohn’s disease lesions, although the use of paraffin wax embedded tissue as opposed to fresh tissue as a sample source could underestimate the true prevalence of the organism.

  • oral Crohn’s disease
  • Mycobacterium paratuberculosis
  • orofacial granulomatosis
  • polymerase chain reaction

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