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Growth of the periodontal pathogen Bacteroides forsythus in broth cultures showed inhibition in the presence of 10mM glucose added to the medium. Glucose inhibition in a number of rumen bacteria has been attributed to the accumulation of methylglyoxal (MG), a highly reactive electrophile known to exhibit cytotoxic effects. HPLC analysis revealed elevated concentrations of MG in cultures of seven strains of B. forsythus. MG rose during growth to a maximum at the time of growth inhibition. Maximum MG concentrations for strain ATCC 43037 were 60.6+/-8.2 microM without added glucose, and 185.5+/-21.5 microM (P<0.014) with 10mM added glucose. Other strains gave values ranging from 24-91 microM and 100-326 microM MG, respectively. Both free and reversibly bound MG were detected in the bacterial cells and in the cell-free culture fluid. Disk sensitivity tests indicated that three B. forsythus strains exhibited different sensitivities to growth inhibition by added MG. Altogether, the results demonstrated the production and accumulation by B. forsythus of high levels of MG in vitro. MG accumulation appears to be related to the marked auto-inhibitory glucose-toxicity effect observed with B. forsythus strains, an effect that must be considered in the design of optimal media for the culture of this fastidious species. In the diseased periodontal pocket, production of the highly reactive, cytotoxic MG by B. forsythus may contribute significantly to disease pathogenesis.

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27 - 32