Polymerase chain reaction for Toxoplasma gondii DNA in the cerebrospinal fluid of AIDS patients with focal brain lesions

Roberto Novati, Antonella Castagna, Giulia Morsica, Luca Vago, Giuseppe Tambussi, Silvia Ghezzi, Cristina Gervasoni, Caroline Bisson, Antonella D'Arminio Monforte, Adriano Lazzarin

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Abstract

Objective: To study the accuracy of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for Toxoptasma gondii DNA in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of AIDS patients for the diagnosis of T. gondii encephalitis. Patients: Eighty-two AIDS patients with brain lesions. At autopsy, 19 patients (group A) had toxoplasmic encephalitis and 33 (group B) primary brain lymphoma or other infections. Brain histology was not available for 30 patients; cerebral lesions improved after anti-Toxoplasma therapy in 16 (group C), but there was no improvement in 14 patients (group D). Methods: T. gondii RH strain was serially diluted in microplate wells. After heat denaturation, nested PCR was performed on diluted tachyzoites and on 10 μl CSF with primers flanking the B1 repetitive region of T. gondii genome. Results: DNA from one to five tachyzoites was detected in each experiment. PCR was positive in eight (42.1%) out of 19 group A samples, none of the group B samples, 10 (62.5%) out of 16 group C samples and none of the group D samples. Among group A and C patients, PCR was positive in all 11, and in seven out of 24 (29.1%; P<0.04) patients who had received anti-Toxoplasma therapy for less or more than 1 week at the time of rachicentesis, respectively. Conclusions: Nested PCR for T. gondii in CSF may improve early differential diagnosis of AIDS-associated focal brain lesions. Higher diagnostic accuracy was achieved when lumbar puncture was performed in the first week of anti-Toxoplasma therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1691-1694
Number of pages4
JournalAIDS (London, England)
Volume8
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1994

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Keywords

  • AIDS
  • Polymerase chain reaction
  • Toxoplasma gondii
  • Toxoplasmic encephalitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

Cite this

Novati, R., Castagna, A., Morsica, G., Vago, L., Tambussi, G., Ghezzi, S., Gervasoni, C., Bisson, C., D'Arminio Monforte, A., & Lazzarin, A. (1994). Polymerase chain reaction for Toxoplasma gondii DNA in the cerebrospinal fluid of AIDS patients with focal brain lesions. AIDS (London, England), 8(12), 1691-1694.