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Malar J. 2007 Jul 6;6:89.

The use of fluorescence enhancement to improve the microscopic diagnosis of falciparum malaria.

Author information

1
Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. rebecca_guy@phac-aspc.gc.ca <rebecca_guy@phac-aspc.gc.ca>

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Giemsa staining of thick blood smears remains the "gold standard" for detecting malaria. However, this method is not very good for diagnosing low-level infections. A method for the simultaneous staining of Plasmodium-parasitized culture and blood smears for both bright field and fluorescence was developed and its ability to improve detection efficiency tested.

METHODS:

A total of 22 nucleic acid-specific fluorescent dyes were tested for their ability to provide easily observable staining of Plasmodium falciparum-parasitized red blood cells following Giemsa staining.

RESULTS:

Of the 14 dyes that demonstrated intense fluorescence staining, only SYBR Green 1, YOYO-1 and ethidum homodimer-2 could be detected using fluorescent microscopy, when cells were first stained with Giemsa. Giemsa staining was not effective when applied after the fluorescent dyes. SYBR Green 1 provided the best staining in the presence of Giemsa, as a very high percentage of the parasitized cells were simultaneously stained. When blood films were screened using fluorescence microscopy the parasites were more readily detectable due to the sharp contrast between the dark background and the specific, bright fluorescence produced by the parasites.

CONCLUSION:

The dual staining method reported here allows fluorescence staining, which enhances the reader's ability to detect parasites under low parasitaemia conditions, coupled with the ability to examine the same cell under bright field conditions to detect the characteristic morphology of Plasmodium species that is observed with Giemsa staining.

PMID:
17617912
PMCID:
PMC1950880
DOI:
10.1186/1475-2875-6-89
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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