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Antimicrobial And Mercury Resistance In Aerobic Gram-negative Bacilli In Fecal Flora Among Persons With And Without Dental Amalgam Fillings.

M. Osterblad, J. Leistevuo, T. Leistevuo, H. Järvinen, L. Pyy, J. Tenovuo, P. Huovinen
Published 1995 · Biology, Medicine

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Antimicrobial resistance is more widespread than can be accounted for as being a consequence of the selection pressure caused by the use of antibiotics alone. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that a high mercury content in feces might select for mercury-resistant bacteria and thus for antimicrobial resistance linked to mercury resistance. Three subject groups with different exposures to dental amalgam fillings were compared. None of the subjects had taken antimicrobial agents during the three preceding months or longer. The group exposed to dental amalgam (n = 92) had 13 times more mercury in feces than the group that had never been exposed to amalgam (n = 43) and the group whose amalgam fillings had been removed (n = 56). No significant differences in either mercury resistance or antibiotic resistance in the fecal aerobic gram-negative flora of these subject groups were seen. The following antimicrobial resistance frequencies were detected with a replica plating method: > or = 1% resistance was seen in 40% of the subjects for ampicillin, 14% of the subjects for cefuroxime, 6% of the subjects for nalidixic acid, 14% of the subjects for trimethoprim, 19% of the subjects for sulfamethoxazole, and 25% of the subjects for tetracycline. The amount of mercury in feces derived from amalgam was not selective for any resistance factors in aerobic gram-negative bacteria, but antimicrobial resistance was widespread even among healthy subjects with no recent exposure to antibiotics.
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