Resistance to β-lactams and distribution of β-lactam resistance genes in subgingival microbiota from Spanish patients with periodontitis



The aim of this study was to analyze the distribution of β-lactamase genes and the multidrug resistance profiles in β-lactam-resistant subgingival bacteria from patients with periodontitis.

Materials and methods

Subgingival samples were obtained from 130 Spanish patients with generalized periodontitis stage III or IV. Samples were grown on agar plates with amoxicillin or cefotaxime and incubated in anaerobic and microaerophilic conditions. Isolates were identified to the species level by the sequencing of their 16S rRNA gene. A screening for the following β-lactamase genes was performed by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique: blaTEM, blaSHV, blaCTX-M, blaCfxA, blaCepA, blaCblA, and blaampC. Additionally, multidrug resistance to tetracycline, chloramphenicol, streptomycin, erythromycin, and kanamycin was assessed, growing the isolates on agar plates with breakpoint concentrations of each antimicrobial.


β-lactam-resistant isolates were found in 83% of the patients. Seven hundred and thirty-seven isolates from 35 different genera were obtained, with Prevotella and Streptococcus being the most identified genera. blaCfxA was the gene most detected, being observed in 24.8% of the isolates, followed by blaTEM (12.9%). Most of the isolates (81.3%) were multidrug-resistant.


This study shows that β-lactam resistance is widespread among Spanish patients with periodontitis. Furthermore, it suggests that the subgingival commensal microbiota might be a reservoir of multidrug resistance and β-lactamase genes.

Clinical relevance

Most of the samples yielded β-lactam-resistant isolates, and 4 different groups of bla genes were detected among the isolates. Most of the isolates were also multidrug-resistant. The results show that, although β-lactams may still be effective, their future might be hindered by the presence of β-lactam-resistant bacteria and the presence of transferable bla genes.

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Correspondence to Rubén León.

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Arredondo, A., Blanc, V., Mor, C. et al. Resistance to β-lactams and distribution of β-lactam resistance genes in subgingival microbiota from Spanish patients with periodontitis. Clin Oral Invest (2020).

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  • Periodontitis
  • Antibiotic resistance
  • β-Lactams
  • Multidrug resistance