Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a sensitive and rapid method for the diagnosis of canine Leishmania infection and can be performed on a variety of biological samples, including peripheral blood, lymph node, bone marrow and skin. Standard PCR requires electrophoretic analysis of the amplification products and is usually not suitable for quantification of the template DNA (unless competitor-based or other methods are developed), being of reduced usefulness when accurate monitoring of target DNA is required. Quantitative real-time PCR allows the continuous monitoring of the accumulation of PCR products during the amplification reaction. This allows the identification of the cycle of near-logarithmic PCR product generation (threshold cycle) and, by inference, the relative quantification of the template DNA present at the start of the reaction. Since the amplification product are monitored in "real-time" as they form cycle-by-cycle, no post-amplification handling is required. The absolute quantification is performed according either to an internal standard co-amplified with the sample DNA, or to an external standard curve obtained by parallel amplification of serial known concentrations of a reference DNA sequence. From the quantification of the template DNA, an estimation of the relative load of parasites in the different samples can be obtained. The advantages compared to standard and semi-quantitative PCR techniques are reduction of the assay's time and contamination risks, and improved sensitivity. As for standard PCR, the minimal components of the quantitative PCR reaction mixture are the DNA target of the amplification, an oligonucleotide primer pair flanking the target sequence, a suitable DNA polymerase, deoxynucleotides, buffer and salts. Different technologies have been set up for the monitoring of amplification products, generally based on the use of fluorescent probes. For instance, SYBR® Green technology is a non-specific detection system based on a fluorescent dsDNA intercalator and it is applicable to all potential targets. TaqMan® technology is more specific since performs the direct assessment of the amount of amplified DNA using a fluorescent probe specific for the target sequence flanked by the primer pair. This probe is an oligonucleotide labelled with a reporter dye (fluorescent) and a quencher (which absorbs the fluorescent signal generated by the reporter). The thermic protocol of amplification allows the binding of the fluorescent probe to the target sequence before the binding of the primers and the starting of the polymerization by Taq polymerase. During polymerization, 5′-3′ exonuclease activity of Taq polymerase digests the probe and in this way the reporter dye is released from the probe and a fluorescent signal is detected. The intensity of the signal accumulates at the end of each cycle and is related to the amount of the amplification product. In recent years, quantitative PCR methods based either on SYBR® Green or TaqMan® technology have been set up for the quantification of Leishmania in mouse liver, mouse skin and human peripheral blood, targeting either single-copy chromosomal or multi-copy minicircle sequences with high sensitivity and reproducibility. In particular, real-time PCR seems to be a reliable, rapid and noninvasive method for the diagnosis and follow up of visceral leishmaniasis in humans. At present, the application of real-time PCR for research and clinical diagnosis of Leishmania infection in dogs is still foreseable. As for standard PCR, the high sensitivity of real-time PCR could allow the use of blood sampling that is less invasive and easily performed for monitoring the status of the dogs. The development of a real-time PCR assay for Leishmania infantum infection in dogs could support the standard and optimized serological and PCR methods currenly in use for the diagnosis and follow-up of canine leishmaniasis, and perhaps prediction of recurrences associated with tissue loads of residual pathogens after treatment. At this regard, a TaqMan® Real Time PCR method developed for the quantification of Leishmania infantum minicircle DNA in peripheral blood of naturally infected dogs sampled before and at different time points after the beginning of a standard antileishmanial therapy will be illustrated.
|Titolo:||Quantitative PCR in the diagnosis of Leishmania|
|Autori interni:||MORTARINO, MICHELE (Primo)|
BANDI, CLAUDIO (Ultimo)
GENCHI, CLAUDIO (Penultimo)
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore VET/06 - Parassitologia e Malattie Parassitarie degli Animali|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2004|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01 - Articolo su periodico|