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Brazilian Journal of Microbiology

Print version ISSN 1517-8382On-line version ISSN 1678-4405


DIL-AFROZE et al. Improved diagnosis of central nervous system tuberculosis by MPB64-Target PCR. Braz. J. Microbiol. [online]. 2008, vol.39, n.2, pp.209-213. ISSN 1517-8382.

Central nervous system (CNS) tuberculosis is a serious clinical problem, the treatment of which is sometimes hampered by delayed diagnosis. Clearly, prompt laboratory diagnosis is of vital importance as the spectrum of disease is wideand abnormalities of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) are incredibly variable. Since delayed hypersensitivity is the underlying immune response, bacterial load is very low. The conventional bacteriological methods rarely detect Mycobacterium tuberculosis in CSF and are of limited use in diagnosis of tuberculous meningitis (TBM). This double blind study was, therefore, directed to the molecular analysis of CNS tuberculosis by an in-house-developed PCR targeted for amplification of a 240bp nucleotidesequence coding for MPB64 protein specific for Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Based on the clinical criteria, 47 patients with CNS tuberculosis and a control group of 10 patients having non-tubercular lesions of the CNS were included in the study. Analyses were done in three groups; one group consisting of 27 patients of TBM, a second group of 20 patients with intracranial tuberculomas and a third group of 10 patients having non-tubercular lesions of the CNS acted as control. There were no false positive results by PCR and the specificity worked out to be 100%. In the three study groups, routine CSF analysis (cells and chemistry), CSF for AFB smear and culture were negative in all cases. PCR was positive for 21/27 patients (77.7% sensitivity) of the first group of TBM patients, 6/20 patients (30% sensitivity) of the second group with intracranial tuberculomas were positive by PCR and none was PCR-positive (100% specificity) in the third group. Thus, PCR was found to be more sensitive than any other conventional method in the diagnosis of clinically suspected tubercular meningitis.

Keywords : CNS tuberculosis; tuberculous meningitis (TBM); intracranial tuberculomas; PCR; Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

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