METHODS: Keratoconic (n = 74) and control subjects (n = 96) were recruited based on clinical diagnostic tests and selection criteria. DNA extracted from the blood samples was used to genotype VSX1 polymorphisms. In-house designed primers and optimization of PCR conditions were carried out to amplify exons 1 and 3 of the VSX1 gene. PCR conditions including percentage GC content, melting temperatures, and differences in melting temperatures of primers were evaluated to produce sensitive and specific DNA amplifications.
RESULTS: Genotyping was successfully carried out in 4 exons of the VSX1 gene. Primer annealing temperatures were observed to be crucial in enhancing PCR sensitivity and specificity. Annealing temperatures were carefully evaluated to produce increased specificity, yet not allowing sensitivity to be compromised. In addition, exon 1 of the VSX1 gene was amplified using 2 different sets of primers to produce 2 smaller amplified products with absence of non-specific bands. DNA amplification of exons 1 and 3 consistently showed single band products which were successfully sequenced to yield reproducible data.
CONCLUSIONS: The use of in-house designed primers and optimized PCR conditions allowed sensitive and specific DNA amplifications that produced distinct single bands. The in-house designed primers and DNA amplification protocols established in this study provide an addition to the current repertoire of primers for accurate molecular characterization of VSX1 gene polymorphisms in keratoconus research.
GOALS: The goal was to ascertain whether urine testing could be used as screening method to detect C. trachomatis infections in commercial sex workers, patients at sexually transmitted diseases clinic, and asymptomatic patients in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
METHODS: First-void urine specimens from 300 men and 300 women were tested by LCR, as well as by a commercially available enzyme immunoassay. The LCR assay amplifies specific sequences within the chlamydial plasmid with ligand-labeled probes, and the resultant amplicons are detected by an automated immunoassay. Specimens with discrepant results were confirmed by another LCR of the specimen that targeted the gene for the major outer membrane protein (OMP1).
RESULTS: There were 31 LCR-positive male urine and 37 LCR-positive female urine specimens. The resolved sensitivity and specificity for the LCR of the male urine specimens were 100% and 99.6%, respectively, whereas for female urine specimens, the sensitivity and specificity were 100% and 98.5%, respectively. After resolution of discrepant test results by OMP1 LCR, the prevalence was 10% for men and 11% for women. The urine enzyme immunoassay was not useful in diagnosing C. trachomatis infections in either men or women, as the resolved sensitivities were 10% and 15.2%, respectively. The specificities were 99.6% for men and 98.9% for women.
CONCLUSIONS: Testing first-void urine specimens by LCR is a highly sensitive and specific method to diagnose C. trachomatis infections in men and women, providing health care workers and public health officials with a new molecular amplification assay that uses noninvasive urine specimens for population-based screening purposes.
METHODS: A high-throughput LAMP assay targeting a P. vivax mitochondrial gene and deploying colorimetric detection in a 96-well plate format was developed and evaluated in the laboratory. Diagnostic accuracy was compared against microscopy, antigen detection tests and PCR and validated in samples from malaria patients and community controls in a district hospital setting in Sabah, Malaysia.
RESULTS: The high throughput LAMP-P. vivax assay (HtLAMP-Pv) performed with an estimated limit of detection of 1.4 parasites/ μL. Assay primers demonstrated cross-reactivity with P. knowlesi but not with other Plasmodium spp. Field testing of HtLAMP-Pv was conducted using 149 samples from symptomatic malaria patients (64 P. vivax, 17 P. falciparum, 56 P. knowlesi, 7 P. malariae, 1 mixed P. knowlesi/P. vivax, with 4 excluded). When compared against multiplex PCR, HtLAMP-Pv demonstrated a sensitivity for P. vivax of 95% (95% CI 87-99%); 61/64), and specificity of 100% (95% CI 86-100%); 25/25) when P. knowlesi samples were excluded. HtLAMP-Pv testing of 112 samples from asymptomatic community controls, 7 of which had submicroscopic P. vivax infections by PCR, showed a sensitivity of 71% (95% CI 29-96%; 5/7) and specificity of 93% (95% CI87-97%; 98/105).
CONCLUSION: This novel HtLAMP-P. vivax assay has the potential to be a useful field applicable molecular diagnostic test for P. vivax infection in elimination settings.
METHODS: In this study, mouthwash, saliva, and buccal cytobrush samples were collected from β-thalassemia major patients who had previously been characterized using DNA extracted from peripheral blood. DNA was extracted from mouthwash, saliva, and buccal cytobrush samples using the conventional inexpensive phenol-chloroform method and was measured by spectrophotometry for yield and purity. Molecular characterization of β-globin gene mutations was carried out using the amplification refractory mutation system (ARMS).
RESULTS: DNA extracted from mouthwash, saliva, and buccal cytobrush samples produced high concentration and pure DNA. The purified DNA was successfully amplified using ARMS. Results of the β-globin gene mutations using DNA from the three non-invasive samples were in 100% concordance with results from DNA extracted from peripheral blood.
CONCLUSIONS: The conventional in-house developed methods for non-invasive sample collection and DNA extraction from these samples are effective and negate the use of more expensive commercial kits. In conclusion, DNA extracted from mouthwash, saliva, and buccal cytobrush samples provided sufficiently high amounts of pure DNA suitable for molecular analysis of β-thalassemia.