Clinical application of testing methods on acid-fast bacteria
Clinical bacteriology pertaining to acid-fast bacteria has made marked advances over the past decade, initiated by the development of a DNA probe kit for identification of acid-fast bacteria. Wide-spread use of nucleic acid amplification for rapid detection of tubercle bacillus contributed more greatly than any other factor to such advances in this field. At present, 90% of all kits used for nucleic acid amplification in the world are consumed in Japan. Unfortunately, not a few clinicians in Japan have a false idea that the smear method and nucleic acid amplification are necessary but culture is not. In any event nucleic acid amplification has exerted significant impacts on the routine works at bacteriology laboratories. Among others, collecting bacteria by pretreatment with NALC-NaOH has simplified the introduction of the collective mode smear method and liquid media. Furthermore, as clinicians have become increasingly more experienced with various methods of molecular biology, it now seems possible to apply these techniques for detection of genes encoding drug resistance and for utilization of molecular epidemiology in routine laboratory works. Meanwhile, attempts to diagnose acid-fast bacteriosis by checking blood for antibody have also been made, primarily in Japan. At present, two kits for detecting antibodies to glycolipids (LAM, TDM, etc.) are covered by national health insurance in Japan. We have an impression that in Japan clinicians do not have adequate knowledge and skill to make full use of these new testing methods clinically. We, as the chairmen of this symposium, hope that this symposium will help clinicians increase their skill related to new testing methods, eventually leading to stimulation of advances in clinical practices related to acid-fast bacteria in Japan. 1. Smear microscopy by concentration method and broth culture system: Kazunari TSUYUGUCHI (Clinical Research Center, National Hospital Organization Kinki-chuo Chest Medical Center) Smear microscopy and culture still remain the cornerstone to diagnose tuberculosis. However, the classical methods in Japan using direct microscopy and Ogawa solid media were not sufficient for clinical use. In recent years substantial advance has been made in these fields. Concentration of clinical samples by centrifugation improves the sensitivity of smear microscopy with excellent reproducibility. The Mycobacteria Growth Indicator Tube (MGIT) system using liquid media yields high sensitivity and rapidity. Using these methods, more and more tuberculosis cases would be correctly diagnosed and treated adequately based on drug susceptibility testing. 2. New technologies for anti-tuberculosis drug susceptibility testing: Satoshi MITARAI (Bacteriology Division, Reference Centre for Mycobacterium, Research Institute of Tuberculosis, Japan Anti-Tuberculosis Association) Several new technologies have been developed to obtain anti-tuberculosis drug susceptibility testing (AST) results rapidly, utilising liquid culture and molecular technologies. Mycobacterium Growth Indicator Tube (MGIT), as a popular liquid culturing and AST system, was evaluated for its accuracy and usefulness. As for isoniazid, MGIT showed 12.6% of discordant result comparing with standard method. These MGIT resistant and Ogawa susceptible strains had relatively high MICs ranging 0.13 to 2.0 microg/ml. The molecular detection of resistant gene mutation is also a useful method to estimate drug resistance rapidly. The rpoB mutation detection is reliable with high sensitivity and specificity. 3. Nucleic acid amplification and novel diagnostic methods: Shunji TAKAKURA (Department of Clinical Laboratory Medicine, Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine) Sensitivities of nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) for the diagnosis of tuberculosis meet clinical requirement that patients with high-risk of transmission should be identified within a day. Comparison of the performance of various NAATs is difficult because of the difference in sample processing and in samples tested among methods and reports. Considering the limitations of NAATs (low sensitivity compared with culture, inability to differentiate dead bacilli from the living), further advances would be expected when novel technologies could confer additional information, such as drug susceptibility, quantity, viability, and genotype. 4. Serodiagnosis of Mycobacterium avium complex lung disease: Seigo KITADA (Department of Internal Medicine, National Hospital Organization Toneyama National Hospital) Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) organisms are ubiquitous in environment and a contamination in respiratory tracts is sometimes observed, and that complex the diagnosis. We developed a serodiagnostic method for MAC disease using an enzyme immunoassay with the MAC-specific glycopeptidolipid (GPL) core as antigen. A significant increase in GPL core antibodies was detected in sera of patients with MAC pulmonary diseases compared to patients who were colonized with MAC, patients with M. kansasii disease and tuberculosis and healthy subjects. The serodiagnosis is useful for diagnosis of MAC lung disease. 5. Molecular epidemiologic tools for tuberculosis: IS6110 RFLP, Spoligotyping, and VNTR: Tomoshige MATSUMOTO, Hiromi ANO, Tetsuya TAKASHIMA, Izuo TSUYUGUCHI (Osaka Prefectural Medical Center for Respiratory and Allergic Diseases) We have performed molecular typing on about 1,300 culture positive clinical isolates that made up the majority of tuberculosis strains in part of southeast Osaka since 2001 until now. By spoligotyping, about 75% of entire strains belonged to the Beijing strain. Particular spoligotyping descriptions, which were not described in SpolDBIII, were found in the strains with lower than 6 copies of IS6110 RFLP. We described them as Osaka type. We could also show that direct typing from Tb PCR positive sputum of patients with tuberculosis was possible by VNTR and that VNTR with 16 loci was useful in tuberculosis typing in Osaka.