Use of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and hybridization assays to detect trypanosoma cruzi in chronic chagasic patients treated with itraconazole or allopurinol
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The presence of Trypanosoma cruzi in chronic chagasic patients with negative xenodiagnosis (XD) after 6 years following completion of therapy with either itraconazole or allopurinol was assessed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and hybridization assays. A 330-bp DNA fragment amplified from the hypervariable regions of T. cruzi kinetoplastid minicircles was hybridized with total 32P-labeled kinetoplast DNA as probes. PCR alone enabled the identification of T. cruzi nucleotide sequences in 40% of the patients treated with itraconazole and in 60% of patients treated with allopurinol. PCR used in combination with hybridization detected parasite DNA in 60% and 53% of XD negative individuals treated with itraconazole or allopurinol, respectively. These results show that PCR and hybridization are more sensitive than conventional parasitological techniques in diagnosing patients that have undergone chemotherapy with itraconazole or allopurinol.
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