Herpesviruses in Abscesses and Cellulitis of Endodontic Origin

Vicky Chen, Yanwen Chen, Hong Li, Karla Kent, J. Craig Baumgartner, Curtis A. Machida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Acute apical abscesses and cellulitis are severe endodontic diseases caused by opportunistic bacteria with possible coinfection with latent herpesviruses. The objectives of this study are to identify herpesviruses, including human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1), and Varicella zoster virus (VZV) in patients (n = 31) presenting with acute apical abscesses and cellulitis of endodontic origin. Primary and nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was conducted using virus-specific primers and DNA isolated from cell-free abscess fluid. From patients exhibiting concurrent spontaneous pain (n = 28), nine abscesses contained HCMV, two abscesses contained EBV, one abscess contained HSV-1, and no abscesses contained VZV. Control PCR using genomic or recombinant templates showed detection limits to a single genomic copy of HCMV, 100 genomic copies for EBV, and 1 to 10 copies for HSV-1 with no cross-amplification between herpesviral DNA targets. Nested PCR was required for detection of herpesviral DNA in the abscess specimens, indicating that these viruses were present in low copy number. Filtration of abscess specimens and virus transfer experiments using human fibroblastic MRC-5 cells confirmed the presence of HCMV particles in several abscess specimens. We conclude that herpesviruses are present but not required for the development of acute apical abscesses and cellulitis of endodontic origin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)182-188
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of endodontics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute apical abscess
  • Epstein-Barr virus
  • Varicella zoster virus
  • apical periodontitis
  • cellulitis
  • endodontic infections
  • herpes simplex virus
  • herpesviruses
  • human cytomegalovirus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Herpesviruses in Abscesses and Cellulitis of Endodontic Origin'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this