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1.  Polymorphism-specific PCR enhances the diagnostic performance of American tegumentary leishmaniasis and allows the rapid identification of Leishmania species from Argentina 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2012;12:191.
The diagnosis of the leishmaniases poses enormous challenges in Argentina. The Polymorphism-Specific PCR (PS-PCR) designed and validated in our laboratories has been proven effective for typifying the Leishmania genus from cultured material. Here we evaluated the performance of this method in the diagnosis of American tegumentary leishmaniasis (ATL) and the rapid identification of Leishmania spp. directly from clinical specimens.
A total of 63 patients from northwestern Argentina, with cutaneous or mucocutaneous lesions, underwent an ATL diagnosis protocol which included clinical examination, Leishmanin skin test, and microscopic examination of dermal smears. In addition, we performed PS-PCR on DNA directly extracted from the specimens scraped from the lesions.
Out of the 63 patients, 44 were classified as ATL cases and 19 as non-ATL cases. The diagnostic sensitivity of the microscopic analysis of dermal smears and PS-PCR individually were 70.5% and 81%, respectively. When performing both tests in parallel, this parameter increased significantly to 97.6% (p = 0.0018). The specificities, on the other hand, were 100%, 84.2%, and 83.3% for the combination, respectively (p > 0.05). Using the PS-PCR analysis we successfully identified the Leishmania spp. in 31 out of the 44 ATL cases. Twenty-eight (90.3%) cases were caused by L. (V.) braziliensis, two (6.5%) by L. (V.) guyanensis, and one (3.2%) by L. (V.) panamensis.
The efficacy of the ATL diagnosis was significantly improved by combining the dermal smear examination with a PS-PCR analysis. Our strategy allowed us to reach the diagnosis of ATL with high accuracy regarding the species of the etiological agent in 70.5% of the cases. Moreover, we diagnosed two cases of the disseminated cutaneous form caused by L. (V.) braziliensis and a cutaneous case due to L. (V.) panamensis infection, both findings reported for the first time in Argentina.
PMCID: PMC3449195  PMID: 22894734
Leishmaniasis; Tegumentary leishmaniasis; Leishmania braziliensis; Leishmania guyanensis; Leishmania panamensis; PS-PCR; Diagnosis; Argentina; Species identification; Leishmania strains
2.  Leishmania isoenzyme polymorphisms in Ecuador: Relationships with geographic distribution and clinical presentation 
Determinants of the clinical presentation of the leishmaniases are poorly understood but Leishmania species and strain differences are important. To examine the relationship between clinical presentation, species and isoenzyme polymorphisms, 56 Leishmania isolates from distinct presentations of American tegumentary leishmaniasis (ATL) from Ecuador were analyzed.
Isolates were characterized by multilocus enzyme electrophoresis for polymorphisms of 11 isoenzymes. Patients were infected in four different ecologic regions: highland and lowland jungle of the Pacific coast, Amazonian lowlands and Andean highlands.
Six Leishmania species constituting 21 zymodemes were identified: L. (Viannia) panamensis (21 isolates, 7 zymodemes), L. (V.) guyanensis (7 isolates, 4 zymodemes), L. (V.) braziliensis (5 isolates, 3 zymodemes), L. (Leishmania) mexicana (11 isolates, 4 zymodemes), L. (L.) amazonensis (10 isolates, 2 zymodemes) and L. (L.) major (2 isolates, 1 zymodeme). L. panamensis was the species most frequently identified in the Pacific region and was associated with several clinical variants of cutaneous disease (CL); eight cases of leishmaniasis recidiva cutis (LRC) found in the Pacific highlands were associated with 3 zymodemes of this species. Mucocutaneous leishmaniasis found only in the Amazonian focus was associated with 3 zymodemes of L. braziliensis. The papular variant of CL, Uta, found in the Andean highlands was related predominantly with a single zymodeme of L. mexicana.
Our data show a high degree of phenotypic variation within species, and some evidence for associations between specific variants of ATL (i.e. Uta and LRC) and specific Leishmania zymodemes. This study further defines the geographic distribution of Leishmania species and clinical variants of ATL in Ecuador.
PMCID: PMC1578576  PMID: 16968553

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