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Revista Peruana de Medicina Experimental y Salud Publica

Print version ISSN 1726-4634


CALDERON E, Róger  and  LUNA C, Carmen. hsp18 gene amplification for detecting Mycobacterium leprae. Rev. perú. med. exp. salud publica [online]. 2006, vol.23, n.4, pp.297-302. ISSN 1726-4634.

A 360-kb fragment of the hsp-18 gene that codes for the 18-kDa-protein antigen of Mycobacterium leprae was amplified using a polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The fragment was obtained from a biopsy taken from a patient with a microscopic, histopathological, and clinical diagnosis of leprosy. Additional paraffin-embedded tissue samples (formalin-fixed), as well as DNA samples from other mycobacteria were also assessed, in order to determine specificity, sensitivity, and reliability of this method. PCR clearly and satisfactorily amplified M. leprae DNA from the patient's biopsy, but it was not capable of performing any amplification using purified DNA from paraffin-embedded tissue samples. No amplification products were observed when using genomic DNA from some other mycobacterial species, such as M. tuberculosis, M. bovis, M. fortuitum, M. gordonae, M. kansasii, M. scrofulaceum, and M. avium; as well as using DNA from other bacteria. This system can be used as an alternative for identifying M. leprae-infected patients, orienting efforts for detecting the hidden prevalence of the disease by identifying asymptomatic cases capable of bacilli transmission.

Keywords : Leprosy [diagnosis]; Polymerase chain reaction; Mycobacterium leprae; Heat-shock proteins.

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