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Real time polymerase chain reaction: a new powerful tool for the diagnosis of neurobrucellosis
  1. J D Colmenero1,
  2. M I Queipo-Ortuño2,
  3. J M Reguera1,
  4. G Baeza2,
  5. J A Salazar3,
  6. P Morata2
  1. 1Infectious Diseases Unit, Department of Internal Medicine, Carlos Haya University Hospital, Málaga, Spain
  2. 2Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Medicine, Málaga, Spain
  3. 3Neurology Department, Carlos Haya University Hospital, Málaga, Spain
  1. Correspondence to:
 J D Colmenero
 Unidad de Enfermedades Infecciosas, Hospital Universitario Carlos Haya, Avda Carlos Haya s/n, 29010 Malaga, Spain;


Background/methods: We compared the diagnostic yield of a real time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples with conventional microbiological techniques for the diagnosis of neurobrucellosis. Following amplification of a 223 bp sequence specific for Brucella genus, melting curve analysis was performed to verify the specificity of the PCR products.

Results: All six patients with neurobrucellosis (three meningitis and three meningoencephalitis) had a positive real time PCR assay, whereas CSF cultures and Wright seroagglutination tests were positive in only two and four cases, respectively. Brucella specific amplicons were easily demonstrated by their characteristic melting temperature in all the real time PCR assays.

Conclusion: LightCycler based real time PCR assay in CSF samples is more rapid and sensitive than conventional microbiological tests. This technique could be useful for the rapid diagnosis of neurobrucellosis.

  • CNS, central nervous system
  • CSF, cerebrospinal fluid
  • CT, computed tomography
  • MR, magnetic resonance
  • PCR, polymerase chain reaction
  • chain
  • polymerase
  • reaction
  • PCR
  • diagnosis
  • neurobrucellosis

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  • Competing interests: none declared