, Volume 183, Issue 5, pp 777–783 | Cite as

Diagnosis of Superficial Mycoses by a Rapid and Effective PCR Method from Samples of Scales, Nails and Hair

  • Irene Álvarez-Mosquera
  • Silvia Hernáez
  • Juan Sánchez
  • Maria Dolores Suárez
  • Ramón Cisterna
Original Paper


Superficial mycoses are the most frequently diagnosed affections of the stratum corneum of the skin, nails and hair. It is generally caused by the presence of yeasts and dermatophytes. Onychomycosis is the most common infection with an incidence of 80–90% in Europe generally produced by Trichophyton rubrum. The aim of this study is to compare the traditional diagnostic techniques of superficial mycoses with a homemade and wide-spectrum fungal polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique that amplifies a specific region of the 18S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) directly from samples of scales, nails and hair. A total of 626 clinical samples (obtained in the Basurto University Hospital, Bilbao, Spain) were analysed by traditional culture, microscopy and PCR. DNA extraction was carried out by using an extraction buffer and bovine serum, and amplification of samples and performance of the PCR were checked by conventional agarose gel electrophoresis with subsequent sequencing of amplified samples. A total of 211 samples (34%) resulted in positive diagnosis with at least one of the two applied methods: culture (21%) and PCR (22%). Despite the low percentage of identification achieved by the sequencing technique (40%), the value contributed by the amplification of the 18S region of the rRNA was considered important in the identification as it showed a high predictive values for both positive and negative diagnoses (90.9% and 94.6%, respectively). The proposed PCR method has been confirmed as a complementary, rapid, and effective method in the diagnosis of superficial mycoses. Additionally, it reduces the time to obtain satisfactory results from 4 weeks to 7 h.


Onychomycosis Dermatophyte Diagnosis PCR method Rapid and effective 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Irene Álvarez-Mosquera
    • 2
  • Silvia Hernáez
    • 1
  • Juan Sánchez
    • 1
  • Maria Dolores Suárez
    • 1
  • Ramón Cisterna
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Clinical Microbiology and Infection Control DepartmentBasurto University HospitalBilbaoSpain
  2. 2.Immunology, Microbiology and Parasitology Department, School of MedicineUniversity of Basque Country (UPV/EHU)LeioaSpain

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