Genotypic patterns of multiple isolates of M. tuberculosis from tuberculous HIV patients


correspondence Dr L. S. Fonseca, Instituto de Microbiologia, UFRJ, Centro de Ciências da Saúde, Bloco I, Ilha do Fundão, 21.941–590, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; E-mail:


Summary We investigated whether the recurrence of tuberculosis in HIV-infected patients is due to an exogenous reinfection or relapses after antituberculosis chemotherapy. We reviewed clinical information on 32 patients at a Rio de Janeiro hospital from whom multiple Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates were taken. All isolates were analysed by DRE-PCR fingerprinting technique, and those with identical DRE-PCR patterns were analysed by the RFLP method. Twenty patients had M. tuberculosis simultaneously isolated from different organs. These patients and nine others with sequential positive cultures after 2 months of therapy showed stable DRE-PCR and RFLP patterns. One patient's isolate became resistant to isoniazid, but the molecular pattern remained unchanged despite the development of drug resistance. In three patients, the DRE-PCR patterns of the isolates changed dramatically. Clinical and microbiological evidence was consistent with active tuberculosis caused by a new strain of M. tuberculosis. The exogenous reinfection of the three patients was not due to an outbreak, but the isolates from each patient showed unique patterns.