Study reported in Journal of Endodontics looked for HCMV, EPV, HSV-1, and VZB in 82 endodontic patients.

A significant percentage of dental patients with irreversible pulpitis and apical periodontitis also have the Epstein-Barr virus, according to researchers at Oregon Health & Science University’s (OHSU) School of Dentistry.

Scientists assessed the presence of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), Epstein-Barr virus (EPV), herpes simplex virus (HSV-1), and Varicella zoster virus (VZV) in 82 endodontic patients including those with irreversible pulpitis and apical periodontitis. The team compared the 82 patients against 19 healthy patients.

While a previous study examined the incidence of herpes viruses in apical periodontitis, Curt Machida, Ph.D., OHSU professor of integrative biosciences notes that “this is the first time irreversible pulpitis has been analyzed for the presence of herpes viruses and associated with Epstein-Barr virus.”

Using a variety of methods, investigators found the Epstein-Barr virus DNA and RNA in significantly higher percentages (43.9% and 25.6%, respectively) compared with healthy patients (0%). Human cytomegalovirus DNA and RNA were found in measurable numbers in both endodontic patients (15.9% and 29.3%, respectively) and in healthy patients (42.1% and 10.5%, respectively). Herpes simplex virus DNA was found in low percentages of endodontic patients (13.4%), and only one patient showed the presence of Varicella zoster virus.

The findings are published online in the Journal of Endodontics.

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