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A prospective study of diagnosis of Toxoplasma gondii infection after bone marrow transplantation

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Edvinsson B, Lundquist J, Ljungman P, Ringdén O, Evengård B. A prospective study of diagnosis of Toxoplasma gondii infection after bone marrow transplantation. APMIS 2008;116:345–51.

Active infection with Toxoplasma gondii in immunocompromised transplant recipients can lead to toxoplasmosis, which may have a rapid disease course and in some cases be fatal. It is of paramount importance to diagnose toxoplasmosis at an early stage, and to initiate specific treatment to improve the outcome. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is today the primary diagnostic tool to diagnose toxoplasmosis in immunocompromised patients. Timely diagnosis may, however, be difficult if toxoplasmosis is at first asymptomatic. To investigate the magnitude of toxoplasmosis after bone marrow transplantation (BMT), we conducted a screening study by PCR where 21 autologous and 12 allogeneic BMT recipients were included. Peripheral blood samples were taken one week prior to BMT; thereafter, blood samples were drawn weekly for the first 6 months, and monthly up to one year after BMT. The samples were analyzed by conventional PCR and real-time PCR. T. gondii DNA was detected in peripheral blood from one patient 5 days post allogeneic BMT. There were no clinical signs of toxoplasmosis. Medical records were reviewed and showed a previously undiagnosed eye infection in another allogeneic BMT recipient. These two patients were seropositive for T. gondii. We concluded that monitoring for T. gondii DNA in peripheral blood samples using PCR might be a valuable method for identifying toxoplasma-seropositive stem cell transplant recipients.
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Keywords: PCR; Toxoplasma gondii; immunocompromised; stem cell transplantation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Karolinska Institutet, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Division of Clinical Microbiology, Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge 2: Karolinska Institutet, Department of Medicine, Division of Haematology, Karolinska University Hospital 3: Karolinska Institutet, Department of Clinical Immunology, Center for Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation, Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge, Stockholm, Sweden 4: Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control

Publication date: May 1, 2008

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