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Parasitol Res. 1996;82(7):585-9.

Differentiation of Entamoeba histolytica and E. dispar DNA from cysts present in stool specimens by polymerase chain reaction: its field application in the Philippines.

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Department of Protozoology, Nagasaki University, Japan.


It has been established that two distinct species exist within what was originally known as Entamoeba histolytica. These are E. dispar and E. histolytica, for the nonpathogenic and pathogenic forms, respectively. Differentiation of these two organisms is of great clinical importance since they are morphologically indistinguishable and both forms can infect the human intestinal cavity to different degrees. A simple and rapid DNA-extraction method that can be used directly on formalin-fixed stool specimens has been developed. The extracted DNA was used for the identification of the species existing in the stools by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). A total of 72 randomly collected stool samples from the Philippines were analyzed. In all, 19 samples reacted with E. dispar primers, resulting in the expected 101-bp PCR products; however, none reacted with E. histolytica primers. Furthermore, sensitivity assay suggests that genomic DNA from as few as five cysts can be used as a template for PCR. These observations imply that the use of genomic DNA directly extracted from formalin-fixed stool specimens for PCR amplification is a useful tool for obtaining a sensitive and accurate diagnosis that can be applied even in epidemiology studies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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