Bacterial Invasion of Pulp Blood Vessels in Teeth with Symptomatic Irreversible Pulpitis

Domenico Ricucci, José F. Siqueira, Rafik A. Abdelsayed, Santo G. Lio, Isabela N. Rôças

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Introduction: This study described the degenerative changes and infection patterns of the pulp tissue associated with symptomatic irreversible pulpitis. Methods: The material consisted of 32 extracted teeth with untreated deep caries that were clinically and histologically diagnosed with irreversible pulpitis and were part of the histopathologic collection of 1 of the authors. The controls consisted of intact teeth with normal uninflamed pulps and teeth with reversible pulpitis. Teeth were processed for histopathologic and histobacteriologic analyses. Results: All teeth with irreversible pulpitis showed areas of severe acute inflammation, necrosis, microabscesses, and bacterial infection in the pulp chamber. These areas were surrounded by a chronic inflammatory infiltrate, and, at the distance, the pulp tissue was often uninflamed. Bacteria were also observed in the areas surrounding the necrotic foci, both as scattered cells through the extravascular space and at varying numbers within the blood vessel lumen. The number of bacteria and the density of the intravascular bacterial aggregations varied considerably. In one third of the cases, bacteria occurred in the lumen of venules in areas at a considerable distance from the necrotic focus in the coronal third of the root. No intravascular bacteria were noted in the middle and apical segments of the canal. No bacteria were found in the pulps of any of the control specimens. Conclusions: Bacterial invasion and colonization of necrotic areas were observed in the pulp of all teeth with caries exposure and symptomatic irreversible pulpitis. Bacterial penetration of blood vessels occurred in all cases, suggesting that this may be an important mechanism of spread of bacterial infection through the pulp tissue in an endodontic infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1854-1864
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of endodontics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Bacteremia
  • caries
  • irreversible pulpitis
  • pulp infection
  • pulp inflammation
  • pulp necrosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry


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