Molecular detection and identification of Aspergillus spp. from clinical samples using real-time PCR

Authors


José C. Palomares, Servicio de Microbiología Clínica, Hospital Universitario de Valme, Crta. Cadíz s/n, Seville 41014, Spain.
Tel.: +34 9 5501 5480. Fax: +34 9 5501 5481.
E-mail: jcpalomares@us.es

Summary

The definite and rapid diagnosis of invasive aspergillosis is necessary because of the high mortality caused. The objective of this study was to evaluate a real-time PCR assay to detect Aspergillus spp. in clinical samples, based on the Light Cycler technology. Specificity was assessed by using DNA extracted from pathogenic and non-pathogenic bacteria/fungi from Spanish Collection including: two Aspergillus flavus, four Aspergillus fumigatus, two Aspergillus nidulans, two Aspergillus niger and two Aspergillus terreus isolates. The analytical sensitivity was evaluated with different inocula (101–105 conidia ml−1), and serially diluted DNA of A. fumigatus. To assess clinical applicability, samples from patients at risk were analysed. Species identification was determined by analysing the melting curves. Reactions using genomic DNA from other species of different genera than Aspergillus were negative (specificity: 100%). Analytical sensitivity was 60 fg using DNA and 5–20 conidia using conidial suspensions. The linear range was from 60 to 6 × 107 fg. The Tm ranged from 67.34 to 70.7 °C for the different Aspergillus spp. studied. Nine hundred and forty-eight consecutive blood samples from 127 patients were processed. In total, 10 (1%) of 948 samples from blood samples were PCR-positive. The real-time PCR assay provides a high sensitivity and specificity for detection of fungal DNA and rapidly identifies most of clinically relevant Aspergillus species.

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