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Int J Parasitol. 2008 Apr;38(5):589-99. Epub 2007 Oct 1.

African trypanosomiasis: sensitive and rapid detection of the sub-genus Trypanozoon by loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) of parasite DNA.

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School of Nursing - Peel Campus, Murdoch University, Carleton Place, 15-17 Mandurah, WA 6210, Australia.


Control of human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) is dependent on accurate diagnosis and treatment of infected patients. However, sensitivities of tests in routine use are unsatisfactory, due to the characteristically low parasitaemias in naturally infected individuals. We have identified a conserved sequence in the repetitive insertion mobile element (RIME) of the sub-genus Trypanozoon and used it to design primers for a highly specific loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) test. The test was used to analyse Trypanozoon isolates and clinical samples from HAT patients. The RIME LAMP assay was performed at 62 degrees C using real-time PCR and a water bath. DNA amplification was detectable within 25min. All positive samples detected by gel electrophoresis or in real-time using SYTO-9 fluorescence dye could also be detected visually by addition of SYBR Green I to the product. The amplicon was unequivocally confirmed through restriction enzyme NdeI digestion, analysis of melt curves and sequencing. The analytical sensitivity of the RIME LAMP assay was equivalent to 0.001 trypanosomes/ml while that of classical PCR tests ranged from 0.1 to 1000 trypanosomes/ml. LAMP detected all 75 Trypanozoon isolates while TBR1 and two primers (specific for sub-genus Trypanozoon) showed a sensitivity of 86.9%. The SRA gene PCR detected 21 out of 40 Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense isolates while Trypanosoma gambiense-specific glycoprotein primers (TgsGP) detected 11 out of 13 T. b. gambiense isolates. Using clinical samples, the LAMP test detected parasite DNA in 18 out of 20 samples which included using supernatant prepared from boiled blood, CSF and direct native serum. The sensitivity and reproducibility of the LAMP assay coupled with the ability to detect the results visually without the need for sophisticated equipment indicate that the technique has strong potential for detection of HAT in clinical settings. Since the LAMP test shows a high tolerance to different biological substances, determination of the appropriate protocols for processing the template to make it a user-friendly technique, prior to large scale evaluation, is needed.

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