Can the oral microflora affect oral ulcerative mucositis?

A.M.G.A. Laheij, J.J. de Soet

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose of review: Oral mucositis is one of the most prevalent toxicities after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Mucositis is initiated by the chemotherapy or radiotherapy preceding the transplantation. It is commonly accepted that microorganisms play a role in the process of oral mucositis. Despite the upcoming techniques to determine the whole oral bacterial ecosystem, the exact role of the microflora in mucositis is not yet understood. This article provides an overview of the state-of-the-art research on the oral microflora and mucositis.

Recent findings: A shift in microflora, in both the intestine and the oral cavity, can be found after chemotherapy or radiation therapy. The presence of oral ulcerative mucositis coincides with the presence of periodontitis-associated bacteria, in particular Porphyromonas gingivalis. Moreover, this bacterium can inhibit wound healing processes in an in-vitro model.

Summary: We come to realize that some diseases are associated with a shift in the microflora. The role of the microflora in oral and intestinal mucositis is gaining more attention in recent literature. In the oral cavity, periodontitis-associated bacteria may influence the healing of ulcerations and the role they play in mucositis may be more subtle and complicated than was previously thought.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-187
JournalCurrent Opinion in Supportive and Palliative Care
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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