Bull. Health Research
Blood samples from 43 humans and 14 cats with Brugia microfilariae were analyzed in a field study in Tanjung Pinang, Indonesia. The study used the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to compare the sensitivity of radioactive and biotinylated species-specific oligonuleotide probes. The cloning char- acterization of the Hha I repeat DNA family found in filarial parasites of the genus Brugia, and the development of species-specific probes for B.malayi and B.pahangi based on these repeats has been described elsewhere (PNAS USA 83: 797-801); Mol.Biochem. Parasitol. 28: 163-170). The use of radioisotopes for labelling DNA probes is both expensive and inconvenient. To replace these probes, biotinylated DNA probes have been designed for non- radioactive detection of B.malayi and B.palrangi.These oligonucleotide probes have long tails of biotinylated uridine residues added to their 5' end. As little as 100 pg of Brugia DNA can be detected on dot blot with these probes. Detection of the probes is based on an avidin-alkaline phosphatase colorimetric assay. In order to distinguish between infected from uninfected individuals, it is necessary to detect the amount of DNA in one microfilaria (about 60 pg). The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a procedure in which a small amount of DNA can be amplified up to 1 million-fold. A part of each sample in this study was PCR amplified and compared with the unamplified portion using both the radioactive and biotinylated DNA probe. The PCR amplified samples were accurately identified by both the radioactive and biotinylatedB.malayi and Bgahangi probes. Even samples with as few as two microfilariae per lOOul of blood were easily detected. The samples that were not PCR amplified were accurately identified after only long exposures (greater than one week) to the radioactive probes. The biotinylated probes, were not sensitive enough for accurate identification of the non-PCR amplified samples. The polymerase chain reaction is, therefore, a promising new tool for enhancing the sensitivity of parasite detection assays based on DNAprobes. This will be especially important in designing assay based on non-radioactive DNA probes.
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Glover, Janet; Williams, Steven A.; Szabo, Susanne; Landry, David; McReynolds, Larry A.; Supali, Taniawati; and Partono, Felix, "A Field Study Using the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) to Screen for Brugia Microfilariae in Human and Animal Blood" (1989). Biological Sciences: Faculty Publications, Smith College, Northampton, MA.