To increase our understanding of Candida pathogenicity, the identification of those strains most frequently associated with infections is of paramount importance. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based methods are extremely effective in differentiating and determining reproducibility, they require minimum starting material and are rapid and simple to perform. In this study, the genetic relatedness of Candida albicans was assessed for two geographically different patient groups (London, UK and Parma, Italy) affected by diabetes mellitus. C. albicans samples from the oral cavities of non-diabetic healthy subjects were also examined by PCR fingerprinting to evaluate the possible genetic differences among endogenous strains in individuals with and without diabetes mellitus. PCR fingerprinting, with subsequent phylogenetic analysis of C. albicans isolates from the diabetic patients from London and Italy and from the non-diabetic subjects, revealed that there were significant differences (P < 0.0001) between C. albicans isolates indicative of the distinct ecological niches that occur in the oral cavities of these patient cohorts. The most diverse group comprised the isolates from the diabetic patients in the UK, possibly reflecting the antifungal treatment that these patients had received. Further studies that include isolates from patient cohorts with systemic diseases other than diabetes mellitus, and from more diverse geographic localities are required to explain the relatedness of C. albicans isolates in the mouth.
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