Author(s): RantakokkoJalava K, Laaksonen S, Issakainen J, Vauras J, Nikoskelainen J,
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Abstract A real-time PCR method was developed and used to detect Aspergillus fumigatus mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluids and tissue biopsy specimens. The analytical sensitivity of the assay was one A. fumigatus conidium per reaction, and the assay was linear at least over 4 orders of magnitude above the detection limit. BAL fluids from 66 immunocompromised patients at risk of invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA) and 33 immunocompetent controls and tissue biopsy specimens from 10 immunocompromised patients were analyzed. The results were related to the clinical diagnosis established according to recently published consensus criteria. A. fumigatus mtDNA positivity was encountered in 16 of 81 (20\%) BAL fluid specimens from patients at risk and 1 of 33 (3\%) specimens from immunocompetent controls. PCRs were positive in six of seven, two of four, and four of five of the patients with proven, probable, and possible IPA, respectively, as well as in four patients at risk but without any other evidence of IPA. With qualitative detection, the diagnostic sensitivity of PCR was 73\%, specificity was 93\%, and predictive values of positive (PPV) and negative (NPV) results were 73 and 95\%, respectively. Using a threshold cycle of <35 as a limit for positive PCR, the specificity and PPV of PCR in the diagnosis of invasive aspergillosis were 100\%, but its sensitivity was only 45\% and NPV was 92\%. PCR was positive in tissue biopsy specimens from all patients with invasive aspergillosis caused by A. fumigatus. Semiquantitative detection of A. fumigatus mtDNA in BAL fluid may be helpful in the diagnosis of IPA. PCR is well suited for the verification of the presence of A. fumigatus in tissue biopsy specimens.
This article was published in J Clin Microbiol
and referenced in Fungal Genomics & Biology