Molecular strategy for the diagnosis of infectious lymphadenitis
Molecular methods have been considered to be the gold standard for the diagnosis of infectious lymphadenitis. However, culture remains critical in the case of low bacterial concentrations. We used molecular assays and culture to examine fresh lymph node biopsies from patients with suspected infectious lymphadenopathy. We analyzed 1762 lymph node biopsies of which 522 (30%) samples were found positive by real-time PCR; the most commonly amplified bacteria were Bartonella henselae (n = 438, 84%), Francisella tularensis (n = 46, 9%), and Mycobacterium spp. (n = 29, 6%). PCR amplification and sequencing of the 16S rDNA were positive for 359 (20%) lymph node specimens including mainly B. henselae (n = 167, 47%), Staphylococcus spp. (n = 77, 21%), and Streptococcus spp. (n = 41, 11%). In total, 351 lymph nodes were cultured on agar plates and 77 (22%) were positive. Significantly more lymph nodes infected by Gram-positive easy-growing agents were diagnosed by culture (n = 45) than by 16S rDNA PCR (p = 0.02). Culture remains critical for the diagnosis of easy-growing bacteria and mycobacteria; clinicians should be aware that a negative molecular result does not imply absence of infection.
KeywordsInfectious lymphadenitis Bacterial agents Real-time PCR 16S rDNA PCR Sequencing
We would like to thank Gregory Mougel for his help with data collection.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
Ethical approval was not required.
No informed consent was required since this was a retrospective study.
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