Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Ann Fr Anesth Reanim. 1995;14(4):320-5.

[Aseptic meningitis. Demonstration of bacterial DNA in cerebrospinal fluid by gene amplification].

[Article in French]

Author information

Département d'Anesthésie-Réanimation, Hôpital Neurologique et Neurochirurgical Pierre-Wertheimer, Lyon.



To develop a diagnostic tool to recognize whether a postoperative meningitis occurring in neurosurgical patients is of bacteriological origin or not, in detecting in CSF bacterial DNA with the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique.


Laboratory study.


Twenty-seven neurosurgical ICU patients associating, in the postoperative period, the CDC criteria of meningitis and a neutrophil polymorphonuclear count over 100 were allocated either into the MB+ group (n = 7) when their CSF culture was positive or in the MB- group (n = 20) when the culture was sterile. The CSF of 43 neurosurgical ICU patients without postoperative clinical and biological features of meningitis acted as controls. Sixteen specimens out of the 43 were inoculated with bacteria at a known concentration.


The CSF specimens of all patients were tested for the presence of eurcaryote DNA using the PCR technique. Beforehand its sensitivity had been assessed using the inoculated CSF of control group: a positive amplification at 20 cycles was equivalent to 10(5) CFU.mL-1 and a positive amplification at 25 cycles to 10(3) CFU.mL-1.


In the 43 sterile control CSF specimens the amplification was negative in all at 20 cycles and in 42 at 25 cycles. In the 16 previously sterile control specimens supplemented with bacteria, as well as in the CSF of all 7 patients of MB+ group the amplification was positive at 20 and 25 cycles. In those of MB- group the amplification was negative in all at 20 cycles, but was positive in 19 out of 20 at 25 cycles. Southern blot with specific procaryote probes was positive with amplification products from CSF of MB+ and MB- groups and negative with control CSFs and human DNA.


The presence of bacteria in CSF of patients sustaining a meningitis can be accurately detected through their DNA. Postoperative aseptic meningitides may have a bacterial origin. PCR can be used as a routine technique to provide a diagnosis of bacterial meningitis in less than 6 hours. Additionally specific oligonucleotides allow to identify the bacteria in less than 12 hours.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Support Center