• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of jcmPermissionsJournals.ASM.orgJournalJCM ArticleJournal InfoAuthorsReviewers
J Clin Microbiol. Jun 1997; 35(6): 1492–1498.
PMCID: PMC229773

Multiplex PCR assay for immediate identification of the infecting species in patients with mycobacterial disease.


Rapid identification of infecting mycobacterial species enables appropriate medical care decisions to be made. Our aim was to demonstrate the clinical usefulness of the multiplex PCR assay, a test based on PCR, which permits direct identification of 12 mycobacterial species in clinical specimens. A total of 259 specimens from 177 patients who had clinical symptoms of mycobacterial disease but for whom there were difficulties in diagnosis were tested. Specimens were analyzed within 48 h of receipt of the sample. Mycobacteria were identified in 102 specimens; 66 specimens contained nontuberculous mycobacteria, and 36 specimens contained Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex mycobacteria. The PCR assay identified the mycobacterial species in 43 (97.7%) of 44 microscopy- and culture-positive specimens and in 15 (93.8%) of 16 culture-positive, microscopy-negative specimens. It also permitted species identification in infections caused by more than one mycobacterial species. For 56 (96.5%) of the 58 specimens from patients with infections caused by opportunistic mycobacteria, the organisms were identified with the PCR assay. The test was useful also for the identification of fastidious mycobacteria, e.g., M. genavense, and those that cannot be cultured, e.g., M. leprae. After resolution of discrepant results, the sensitivity of the PCR assay was 97.9%, the specificity was 96.9%, the positive predictive value was 95.0%, and the negative predictive value was 98.7%. For culture these values were 60.8, 100, 100, and 81.0%, respectively. Thus, the multiplex PCR assay enables prompt diagnosis when rapid identification of infecting mycobacteria is necessary.

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (376K).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • American Thoracic Society. Diagnostic standards and classification of tuberculosis. Am Rev Respir Dis. 1990 Sep;142(3):725–735. [PubMed]
  • Bates JH. Mycobacterium avium disease: progress at last. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1996 Jun;153(6 Pt 1):1737–1738. [PubMed]
  • Böttger EC, Teske A, Kirschner P, Bost S, Chang HR, Beer V, Hirschel B. Disseminated "Mycobacterium genavense" infection in patients with AIDS. Lancet. 1992 Jul 11;340(8811):76–80. [PubMed]
  • Chin DP, Hopewell PC. How to treat bacteraemic Mycobacterium avium complex disease. Lancet. 1995 Oct 7;346(8980):920–921. [PubMed]
  • Guerrero C, Bernasconi C, Burki D, Bodmer T, Telenti A. A novel insertion element from Mycobacterium avium, IS1245, is a specific target for analysis of strain relatedness. J Clin Microbiol. 1995 Feb;33(2):304–307. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Kirschner P, Vogel U, Hein R, Böttger EC. Bias of culture techniques for diagnosing mixed Mycobacterium genavense and Mycobacterium avium infection in AIDS. J Clin Microbiol. 1994 Mar;32(3):828–831. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Kolk AH, Noordhoek GT, de Leeuw O, Kuijper S, van Embden JD. Mycobacterium smegmatis strain for detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis by PCR used as internal control for inhibition of amplification and for quantification of bacteria. J Clin Microbiol. 1994 May;32(5):1354–1356. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Kolk AH, Schuitema AR, Kuijper S, van Leeuwen J, Hermans PW, van Embden JD, Hartskeerl RA. Detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in clinical samples by using polymerase chain reaction and a nonradioactive detection system. J Clin Microbiol. 1992 Oct;30(10):2567–2575. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Kox LF, Rhienthong D, Miranda AM, Udomsantisuk N, Ellis K, van Leeuwen J, van Heusden S, Kuijper S, Kolk AH. A more reliable PCR for detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in clinical samples. J Clin Microbiol. 1994 Mar;32(3):672–678. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Kox LF, van Leeuwen J, Knijper S, Jansen HM, Kolk AH. PCR assay based on DNA coding for 16S rRNA for detection and identification of mycobacteria in clinical samples. J Clin Microbiol. 1995 Dec;33(12):3225–3233. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Montessori V, Phillips P, Montaner J, Haley L, Craib K, Bessuille E, Black W. Species distribution in human immunodeficiency virus-related mycobacterial infections: implications for selection of initial treatment. Clin Infect Dis. 1996 Jun;22(6):989–992. [PubMed]
  • Nguyen LN, Kox LF, Pham LD, Kuijper S, Kolk AH. The potential contribution of the polymerase chain reaction to the diagnosis of tuberculous meningitis. Arch Neurol. 1996 Aug;53(8):771–776. [PubMed]
  • van Soolingen D, de Haas PE, Hermans PW, Groenen PM, van Embden JD. Comparison of various repetitive DNA elements as genetic markers for strain differentiation and epidemiology of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. J Clin Microbiol. 1993 Aug;31(8):1987–1995. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of Clinical Microbiology are provided here courtesy of American Society for Microbiology (ASM)


Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...