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Free Content Mycobacterium tuberculosis DNA detection in soluble fraction of urine from pulmonary tuberculosis patients

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SETTING: A tertiary care and research institution in Italy.

BACKGROUND: Small DNA fragments from cells dying throughout the body have been detected in urine (transrenal DNA [Tr-DNA]).

OBJECTIVE: To test the hypothesis that Mycobacterium tuberculosis Tr-DNA could be detected in the urine of pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) patients.

DESIGN: We studied 43 patients with culture-confirmed pulmonary TB with no evidence of extra-pulmonary involvement, 10 patients with pulmonary diseases other than TB and 13 healthy controls. DNA was extracted from urine and analysed by semi-nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

RESULTS: M. tuberculosis-specific sequences were found in the urine of 34 of 43 (79%) TB patients studied, whereas all controls were negative. The transrenal nature of M. tuberculosis DNA was demonstrated by two lines of evidence: first, separate analysis of supernatants and sediments from eight of the study patients found seven positive supernatants but only two matched positive sediments. Second, M. tuberculosis-specific sequences were amplified by semi-nested PCR with primers designed for short but not large amplicons.

CONCLUSION: Small M. tuberculosis DNA fragments may be detected in the urine of a significant proportion of patients with pulmonary TB. If these observations are confirmed by larger studies, Tr-DNA technology could represent a new approach for detecting pulmonary M. tuberculosis infection.
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Keywords: diagnosis; pulmonary tuberculosis; transrenal DNA; urine

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Spaxen Italia SRL, Rome, Italy 2: Istituto Nazionale per le Malattie Infettive Lazzaro Spallanzani-IRCCS, Rome, Italy 3: Istituto Nazionale per le Malattie Infettive Lazzaro Spallanzani-IRCCS, Rome, Italy; and Department of Biology, University of Rome, Tor Vergata, Italy 4: Xenomics Inc., New York, New York, USA 5: Spaxen Italia SRL, Rome, Italy; and Xenomics Inc., New York, New York, USA

Publication date: 2008-02-01

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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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