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Lab Reports
June 4, 2008

Sleeping Sickness Marker

JAMA. 2008;299(21):2500. doi:10.1001/jama.299.21.2500-d

In a step toward providing an early diagnosis of African sleeping sickness, or trypanosomiasis, researchers have identified chemical changes in the urine and blood of mice infected with a trypanosome closely related to the strains that infect humans (Wang Y et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008;105[16]:6127-6132).

A team led by scientists at the Imperial College London, in England, detected an imbalance in the concentration of several amino acids in the blood of infected mice as early as 1 day after infection. They also noted elevated concentrations of lactate and certain other plasma components. Metabolic disturbance of gut microbial activity also was associated with infection, as indicated by changes detected in the animals' urine.