• anaerobic bacteria;
  • gingival overgrowth;
  • kidney transplantation;
  • periodontal diseases

Renal transplant patients undergoing immunosuppressive therapy may experience periodontal side-effects such as gingival overgrowth. This study evaluated the subgingival microbiota of renal transplant recipients with or without periodontal tissue destruction who may have concurrent gingival enlargement. Subgingival paper point samples taken from the deepest probing sites of 38 subjects (one per patient) were examined using direct microscopy and culture techniques. A complex microflora comprising gram-positive and gram-negative cocci, rods and filaments, fusiforms, curved rods and spirochetes was observed using microscopy. Yeasts were occasionally detected. Significantly higher proportions of gram-positive morphotypes, including gram-positive cocci, were observed in samples from periodontally healthy patients. The predominant cultivable microflora from anaerobic culture comprised several species of facultative and obligate anaerobes. Colonization of the subgingival sites by ‘foreign’ microbes that are normally dermal, intestinal or vaginal flora was detected in up to 50% of the samples. High mean proportions of lost or unidentified species were also occasionally noted. The results showed that the subgingival biofilm of renal transplant recipients with chronic periodontitis comprised mainly gram-negative rods and spirochetes. Besides the usual predominant cultivable subgingival microbiota associated with periodontitis, the high prevalence of unidentified and ‘foreign’ microbes indicates the possibility of subgingival microbial alteration in renal transplant patients.