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J Clin Microbiol. 1993 May;31(5):1241-5.

Identification of spheroplast-like agents isolated from tissues of patients with Crohn's disease and control tissues by polymerase chain reaction.

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  • 1School of Biological Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford, United Kingdom.


Mycobacterium paratuberculosis has been isolated from tissue taken from patients with Crohn's disease and has been implicated in the etiology of this disease. On culture, the organisms appear initially as cell wall-deficient, spheroplast-like forms that are difficult to identify by conventional techniques. Here we examine 30 unidentified cultures by the polymerase chain reaction using primers specific for M. paratuberculosis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and Mycobacterium avium restriction fragment length polymorphism type A/I and also by a non-species-specific mycobacterial polymerase chain reaction. Six of these cultures, all from Crohn's disease, were shown to contain DNA from M. paratuberculosis. Cultures from both Crohn's disease and controls were found to contain mycobacterial DNA of unknown specific origin.

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