Introduction: In the past, theories on the transmission of Porphyromonas gingivalis between individuals have been based on, among other techniques, restriction enzyme analysis (R-EA) of bacterial DNA. Currently, amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) may be a more sophisticated alternative. The possibility of automatic pattern analysis and digital storage of the typing data enables the comparison of patterns from a large number of strains in a broad time frame. The aim of this study was to compare REA profiles with AFLP patterns of R gingivalis strains isolated from periodontitis patients and their spouses.
Methods: Forty-two P. gingivalis strains were isolated from different sites in the mouth from six adult patients with periodontitis and their spouses. DNA of the bacterial isolates was subjected to REA and AFLP analysis.
Results: One single type of R gingivalis was found in each individual with both methods, regardless of the site of isolation. Indistinguishable types were found in four of the six couples with both techniques. Different types were found in two couples with both the REA and the AFLP method.
Conclusions: The AFLP typing technique confirms earlier observations on the transmission of P gingivalis between spouses. This new technique can replace REA typing.