Prevalence, virulence and antifungal activity of C. albicans isolated from infected root canals

Sheela B. Abraham, Farah al Marzooq, Wan Harun Himratul-Aznita, Hany Mohamed Aly Ahmed, Lakshman Perera Samaranayake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background: There is limited data on the prevalence of Candida species in infected root canal systems of human teeth. We attempted to investigate the prevalence, genotype, virulence and the antifungal susceptibility of Candida albicans isolated from infected root canals of patients with primary and post-treatment infections in a UAE population. Methods: Microbiological samples from 71 subjects with infected root canals were aseptically collected, and cultured on Sabouraud dextrose agar, and C. albicans was identified using multiplex polymerase chain reaction, and the isolates were further subtyped using ABC genotyping system. Their relative virulence was compared using further four archival samples of endodontic origin from another geographical region, and four more salivary isolates, as controls. The virulence attributes compared were biofilm formation, and production of phospholipase and haemolysin, and the susceptibility to nystatin, amphotericin B, ketoconazole, and fluoconazole was also tested. Results: 4 out of 71 samples (5.6%) yielded Candida species. On analysis of variance among the groups, the intracanal isolates, mainly Genotype A, possessed a high degree of phospholipase and haemolysin activity (p < 0.05). The UAE and Finland isolates were stronger biofilm formers and had superior phospholipase production capacity compared with the salivary isolates. All isolates were sensitive to the antifungal chemicals used. The salivary isolates were more sensitive to fluoconazole compared to other groups (p < 0.05). Conclusion: The prevalence of C. albicans in infected root canals of patients attending a dental hospital in UAE is low. The strains isolated were good biofilm formers, possessed strong phospholipase and haemolysin activity and were mostly of the genotype A. The fact that the root canal isolates possessed significant hydrolase activity, imply that they are equipped with virulence attributes necessary for survival within a harsh intracanal ecosystem.

Original languageEnglish
Article number347
JournalBMC Oral Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Antifungals
  • Biofilm formation
  • Candida albicans
  • Haemolysin
  • Phospholipase
  • Root canal infection
  • Virulence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Prevalence, virulence and antifungal activity of C. albicans isolated from infected root canals'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this