What is the role of PCR in the diagnosis of amebiasis?

Updated: Jul 19, 2019
  • Author: Vinod K Dhawan, MD, FACP, FRCPC, FIDSA; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

A wide variety of PCR-based methods targeting different genes, including a small-subunit rRNA gene (18S rDNA), a 30-kd antigen gene, a serine-rich protein gene, a chitinase gene, a hemolysin gene, and extrachromosomal circular DNA, have been described for the detection and differentiation of E histolytica, E dispar, and E moshkovskii. [17]

Sensitivities can vary according to sampling and the specific target gene used. Field studies that directly compared PCR with stool culture or antigen-detection tests for the diagnosis of E histolytica infection found these methods to be comparably effective. PCR assay can also be used for detection of E histolytica in liver aspirates for the diagnosis of amoebic liver abscess. [59]

PCR-based tests have been strongly endorsed by the WHO. However, application of PCR-based methods in routine diagnosis is still very limited [60, 61, 62] ; the generation of nonspecific DNA fragments from environmental and clinical samples often leads to false-positive results.


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