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Herpesvirus in the oral cavity of children with leukaemia and its impact on the oral bacterial community profile


Aims This cross-sectional study investigated the association between eight herpesviruses and the bacterial community profiles from the oral cavity of children with and without leukaemia.

Methods Sixty participants (aged 3–13), divided into the leukaemia group (LG) and healthy group (HG), were evaluated. Collection of medical data, intraoral examination and collection of clinical specimens were carried out. Single PCR and nested-PCR techniques were used to identify the viral types; denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and real-time PCR techniques were used to evaluate the profile and abundance of bacterial communities.

Results All the children with leukaemia were positive for at least one type of herpesvirus, compared with healthy participants (33.3%; p<0.000). Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV; 46.7%), human herpesvirus-7 (HHV-7; 20%) and HHV-8 (77.3%) were in higher prevalence in the LG (p≤0.01). Children with leukaemia had positive associations with the presence of HCMV, HHV-7 and HHV-8 in the oral cavity when under chemotherapy (p<0.05). There was a qualitative (means of DGGE bands) and quantitative (means of 16S rRNA gene abundance) difference in relation to the bacterial community between the two groups (p<0.05).

Conclusions Based on the results, the prevalence of herpesviruses and the qualitative bacterial profiles was higher in children with leukaemia and HCMV, HHV-7 and HHV-8 were related to the use of chemotherapy. Moreover, HHV-6 was correlated with an increased bacterial community profile in patients with leukaemia (p<0.05). More attention should be paid to the oral health of these individuals, mainly those under chemotherapy, in order to prevent infections by opportunistic pathogens.

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