Effectiveness of PCR and Immunofluorescence Techniques for Detecting Human Cytomegalovirus in Blood and Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid
Current diagnostic methods allow a rapid and reliable detection of active human cytomegalovirus (hCMV) infection by identifying the presence of pp65 CMV antigen or CMV DNA in peripheral blood and affected organs. The goal of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of CMV detection in blood and organ-specific biological material, such as bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), by comparing two standard diagnostic methods, immunofluorescence (IF) and the real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). We evaluated 25 patients with concomitant respiratory disease who were referred to our hospital for diagnosis due to suspected acute CMV infection. The presence of hCMV was concomitantly evaluated by IF and PCR in 16 peripheral blood samples. In two patients, we observed positive results for both IF and PCR, and in two other patients the results were discordant. Of 11 patients, CMV DNA was detected in six BALF samples, and in one blood plasma sample. Real-time PCR detected CMV DNA in 54.6 % of BALF samples and 12.0 % of blood samples, while indirect IF testing confirmed antigenemia in 12.5 % of blood samples. The results from our study suggest that the IF method is as effective as PCR for detecting an ongoing CMV infection in blood samples. However, real-time PCR was much more effective at detecting CMV DNA in BALF compared to blood samples. Our results suggest that the biological material being tested during CMV diagnosis should be derived directly from the virally infected organ(s).
KeywordsBlood Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid Human cytomegalovirus Lungs pp65 antigen Viral infection
This study was performed as part of the scientific project (1/21) of the National Institute of Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases in Warsaw, Poland.
Conflicts of Interest
The authors declare no conflicts of interest in relation to this article.
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