Free Content Direct detection and identification of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in smear-positive sputum samples by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) using peptide nucleic acid (PNA) probes

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SETTING: Peptide nucleic acid (PNA) probes designed for specific detection of mycobacteria of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTC) and other non-tuberculous mycobacterium species (NTM) are shown to be able to penetrate the mycobacterial cell wall and subsequently hybridize in situ to complementary rRNA.

OBJECTIVE: To demonstrate the use of fluorescein-labelled PNA probes for detection and identification of M. tuberculosis in smear-positive sputum samples.

DESIGN: The sensitivity and specificity of the PNA probes were investigated by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) using cultures of mycobacterium strains representing species of the MTC and NTM, respectively.

RESULTS: M. tuberculosis strains were detected by FISH using specific fluorescein-labelled PNA probes directly in smear-positive sputum samples without changing the morphology of the cells.

CONCLUSION: PNA probes allow for rapid diagnosis of tuberculosis in smear-positive cases.

Keywords: FISH; Mycobacterium tuberculosis; PNA; TB; diagnosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: DAKO A/S, Glostrup, Denmark 2: Department of Pathology, Ramathibodi Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand

Publication date: September 1, 1999

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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