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J Vet Intern Med. 2002 Mar-Apr;16(2):147-52.

Development of a nested polymerase chain reaction assay for the detection and identification of Pythium insidiosum.

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Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge 70803-8410, USA.


Pythium insidiosum is an important cause of cutaneous and gastrointestinal disease in horses and dogs in the southeastern United States. Culture-based diagnosis of pythiosis is rarely definitive because production and identification of reproductive structures is difficult. The purpose of this study was to develop a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based assay for the identification of P insidiosum. Genomic DNA was extracted from 3 clinical isolates of P insidiosum and I isolate each of Pythium graminicola and Pythium arrhenomanes. The ITS I region of the ribosomal RNA gene of each isolate was amplified and sequenced, and the resultant sequences were aligned with published sequences for Pythium aphanidermatum, P acanthicum, and P myriotylum. A pair of P insidiosum-specific primers (PI-1 and PI-2) were designed from variable regions within the ITSI region. A nested PCR assay was developed in which the 1st round amplified the ITSI region by use of universal fungal primers. Second-round amplification utilized the internal P insidiosum-specific primers PI-1 and PI-2. Specificity of the assay was tested with DNA extracted from cultures of the following: 10 clinical isolates of P insidiosum and 1 isolate each of P graminicola, P irregulare, P arrhenomanes, P myriotylum, P deliense, Basidiobolus ranarum, Conidiobolus coronatus, Aspergillus terreus, Lagenidium giganteum, and a canine-pathogenic Lagenidium species. Nested PCR produced a single 105-base pair amplicon for each of the P insidiosum isolates, but did not produce amplicons for any of the other isolates. Results of this study suggest that PCR is a useful tool for the identification of P insidiosum.

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