Development and evaluation of a genus-specific, probe-based, internal-process-controlled real-time PCR assay for sensitive and specific detection of Blastocystis spp.
ABSTRACT Blastocystis is a common intestinal parasite of unsettled clinical significance, which is not easily detected by standard parasitological methods. The genus comprises at least 13 subtypes (STs) (which likely represent separate species), 9 of which have been found in humans. Recent data indicate that at least one of the subtypes is associated with intestinal disease. A quantitative TaqMan 5' nuclease real-time PCR (TaqMan PCR) including an internal process control (IPC) was developed for the detection of Blastocystis and shown to be applicable to genomic DNAs extracted directly from feces. The assay enabled successful amplification of DNAs from all relevant subtypes within the genus (ST1 to ST9). For assay evaluation, 153 samples previously tested by xenic in vitro culture (XIVC) were screened by the TaqMan assay. A total of 49/51 samples positive by XIVC and 13/102 samples negative by XIVC were positive by the TaqMan assay; samples positive by the TaqMan assay and negative by XIVC were subsequently tested by conventional PCR, and amplicons could be identified to the subtype level by sequencing in 69% of the cases. Compared to the TaqMan assay, XIVC had a sensitivity of 79%. This is the first time that a genus-specific, probe-based, internal-process-controlled real-time PCR assay for the detection Blastocystis has been introduced.
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ABSTRACT: Blastocystis sp. is among the few enteric parasites with a prevalence that often exceeds 5% in the general population of industrialized countries and can reach 30–60% in developing countries. This parasite is frequently found in people who are immunocompromised (patients with human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or cancer) and a higher risk of Blastocystis sp. infection has been found in people with close animal contact. Such prevalence in the human population and the zoonotic potential naturally raise questions about the impact of these parasites on public health and has increased interest in this area. Recent in vitro and in vivo studies have shed new light on the pathogenic power of this parasite, suggesting that Blastocystis sp. infection is associated with a variety of gastrointestinal disorders, may play a significant role in irritable bowel syndrome, and may be linked with cutaneous lesions (urticaria). Despite recent significant advances in the knowledge of the extensive genetic diversity of this species, the identification of extracellular proteases as virulence factors and the publication of one isolate genome, many aspects of the biology of Blastocystis sp. remain poorly investigated. In this review, we investigate several biological aspects of Blastocystis sp. (diversity and epidemiology, diagnosis tools and pathophysiology). These data pave the way for the following challenges concerning Blastocystis sp. research: deciphering key biological mechanisms and pathways of this parasite and clarification of its clinical impact in humans.Therapeutic advances in infectious disease. 09/2013;
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ABSTRACT: Blastocystis sp. are among the most commonly observed intestinal parasites in routine clinical parasitology. Blastocystis in humans consists of at least 9 genetic subtypes. Different subtypes of Blastocystis may be associated with differences in pathogenicity and symptomatology. Advanced microscopy on two samples and sequence-confirmed PCR on a third sample from the same individual were used for Blastocystis diagnosis and subtype analyses on routine clinical samples in a university hospital. With a combined gold standard of sequence-confirmed PCR and positive advanced microscopy, 107 out of 442 (24.2 %) patients were diagnosed with Blastocystis. infection, which is a high frequency of detection in comparison to previous reports from industrialized countries. The sensitivity of microscopy and sequence-confirmed PCR was 99.1 % (106/107) and 96.3 % (103/107), respectively.Among 103 typable samples, subtype 3 was most abundant (n = 43, 42%), followed by subtypes 1 and 2 (both n = 23, 22%), subtype 4 (n = 12, 12%), and single samples with subtypes 6 (1%) and subtype 7 (1%). The prevalence of Blastocystis infection was 38% in patients from the Department of Tropical Medicine and 18% in patients from other departments. A high prevalence of Blastocystis infection was found with both advanced microscopy and sequence-confirmed PCR in our patient population. Most cases were caused by subtypes ST1, ST2, ST3 and ST4. A significantly higher prevalence was found among patients with a history of recent travel to tropical countries.BMC Infectious Diseases 08/2013; 13(1):389. · 3.03 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to evaluate the EasyScreen™ Enteric Parasite Detection Kit (Genetic Signatures, Sydney, Australia) for the detection and identification of 5 common enteric parasites: Blastocystis spp., Cryptosporidium spp., Dientamoeba fragilis, Entamoeba complex, and Giardia intestinalis in human clinical samples. A total of 358 faecal samples were included in the study. When compared to real-time PCR and microscopy, the EasyScreen™ Enteric Parasite Detection Kit exhibited 92-100% sensitivity and 100% specificity and detected all commonly found genotypes and subtypes of clinically important human parasites. No cross reactivity was detected in stool samples containing various other bacterial, viral, and/or protozoan species. The EasyScreen™ PCR assay was able to provide rapid, sensitive, and specific simultaneous detection and identification of the 5 most important diarrhoea-causing enteric parasites that infect humans. It should be noted, however, that the EasyScreen™ Kit does not substitute for microscopy or for additional PCRs as it does not detect the pathogenic Coccidia spp. Cystoisospora belli or Cyclospora cayetanensis and it does not differentiate between pathogenic and nonpathogenic Entamoeba spp. This study also highlights the lack of sensitivity demonstrated by microscopy; as such, molecular methods should be considered the diagnostic method of choice for enteric parasites.Diagnostic microbiology and infectious disease 10/2013; · 2.45 Impact Factor