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Mechanism of Visible Light Phototoxicity on Porphyromonas gingivalis and Fusobacterium nucleatum



Phototoxicity of visible light laser on the porphyrin-producing bacteria, Porphyromonas gingivalis, in the absence of photo-sensitizers and under aerobic conditions was shown in previous studies. Recently, we found that the noncoherent visible light sources at wavelengths of 400–500 nm, commonly used in restorative dentistry, induced a phototoxic effect on P. gingivalis, as well as on Fusobacterium nucleatum, and to a lesser extent on the Streptococci sp. To elucidate the mechanism of this phototoxic effect, P. gingivalis and F. nucleatum were exposed to light (1) under aerobic and anaerobic environments and (2) in the presence of scavengers of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Phototoxic effect was not observed when the bacteria were exposed to light under anaerobic conditions. Dimethyl thiourea, a hydroxyl radical scavenger, was effective in reducing phototoxicity (Pleqslant R: less-than-or-eq, slant 0.05). Other scavengers, such as catalase, superoxide dismutase and ascorbic acid, were less effective when applied separately. These results support the assumption that the phototoxic effect of blue light on the periopathogenic bacteria is oxygen dependent and that hydroxyl radicals play an important role in this process.