Value of PCR for evaluating occurrence of parasitemia in immunocompromised patients with cerebral and extracerebral toxoplasmosis

Khalifa K. E., Roth, A, Roth, B, Arasteh, K N, Janitschke, K,


PCR was used to evaluate the occurrence of Toxoplasma gondii parasitemia by detection of the B1 gene in blood samples in two groups of immunosuppressed patients (148 subjects) suspected of having cerebral or extracerebral infection, respectively. Group I consisted of 52 patients with AIDS with suspected cerebral toxoplasmosis. The diagnosis was clinically proven in 15 cases. Parasitemia was detected by PCR in only two of these patients (13.3%), both showing evidence of disseminated infection. Group II consisted of 96 immunocompromised patients, either with AIDS or receiving iatrogenic immunosuppressive therapy. Of these patients, 65 (34 with AIDS and 31 others) showed abnormalities only in chest radiography and were first screened for the presence of Toxoplasma DNA in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Blood was then analyzed when the parasite was detected in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. The remaining 31 subjects (22 with AIDS and 9 others) were suspected of having extracerebral, pulmonary, or disseminated toxoplasmosis, and blood was studied directly in these cases. Among the nine patients with clinically diagnosed extracerebral infection in group II, the parasite was detected by PCR in the blood of five patients (55.5%), all having pulmonary toxoplasmosis. If all patients with clinical manifestations of extracerebral toxoplasmosis (from both groups) who had not received antitoxoplasma therapy when the samples were collected are considered, PCR detected parasitemia in seven of the nine cases (77.8%). The present study indicates that examination of blood by PCR may be valuable in cases of extracerebral toxoplasmosis because of the disseminated nature of the disease. Since most cases of cerebral toxoplasmosis result from the local reactivation of latent brain cysts, detection of parasitemia by PCR is useful only in cases associated with severe cerebral infection or dissemination of this disease.

Other data

Title Value of PCR for evaluating occurrence of parasitemia in immunocompromised patients with cerebral and extracerebral toxoplasmosis
Authors Khalifa K. E. ; Roth, A ; Roth, B ; Arasteh, K N ; Janitschke, K 
Issue Date Nov-1994
Journal Journal of clinical microbiology 
DOI 11
PubMed ID 7852576

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