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Acta Trop. 2014 Apr;132:1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2013.12.016. Epub 2014 Jan 2.

Development of a loop-mediated isothermal amplification method for rapid mass-screening of sand flies for Leishmania infection.

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Laboratory of Parasitology, Department of Disease Control, Graduate School of Veterinary Medicine, Hokkaido University, Hokkaido, Japan.
Servicio Nacional de Erradicacion de la Malaria (SNEM), Ministerio de Salud Publica, Guayaquil, Ecuador.
Departamento Académico de Microbiología Médica, Facultad de Medicina Humana, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Lima, Peru; Laboratorio de Entomología, Instituto Nacional de Salud, Lima, Peru.
Departamento de Parasitologia, Instituto Nacional de Higiene y Medicina Tropical 'Leopoldo Izquieta Perez', Guayaquil, Ecuador.
Department of Dermatology, Faculty of Medicine, University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa, Japan.
Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Life Sciences, Graduate School of Health Sciences, Kumamoto University, Kumamoto, Japan.
Department of Parasitology, Kochi Medical School, Kochi University, Kochi, Japan; Centro de Biomedicina, Universidad Central del Ecuador, Quito, Ecuador; Prometeo, Secretaría Nacional de Educacion Superior, Ciencia, Tecnologia e Innovacion (SENESCYT), Guayaquil, Ecuador.
Laboratory of Parasitology, Department of Disease Control, Graduate School of Veterinary Medicine, Hokkaido University, Hokkaido, Japan. Electronic address:


Entomological monitoring of Leishmania infection in leishmaniasis endemic areas offers epidemiologic advantages for predicting the risk and expansion of the disease, as well as evaluation of the effectiveness of control programs. In this study, we developed a highly sensitive loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) method for the mass screening of sand flies for Leishmania infection based on the 18S rRNA gene. The LAMP technique could detect 0.01 parasites, which was more sensitive than classical PCR. The method was robust and could amplify the target DNA within 1h from a crude sand fly template without DNA purification. Amplicon detection could be accomplished by the newly developed colorimetric malachite green (MG)--mediated naked eye visualization. Pre-addition of MG to the LAMP reaction solution did not inhibit amplification efficiency. The field applicability of the colorimetric MG-based LAMP assay was demonstrated with 397 field-caught samples from the endemic areas of Ecuador and eight positive sand flies were detected. The robustness, superior sensitivity, and ability to produce better visual discriminatory reaction products than existing LAMP fluorescence and turbidity assays indicated the field potential usefulness of this new method for surveillance and epidemiological studies of leishmaniasis in developing countries.


Leishmania; Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP); Malachite green; Sand fly

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