[Skip to Navigation]
December 1993

Identification of Mycobacterium tuberculosis DNA in Five Different Types of Cutaneous Lesions by the Polymerase Chain Reaction

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Dermatology (Drs Penneys and Leonardi, and Ms Cook), St Louis (Mo) University School of Medicine; Department of Dermatology, University of Miami (Fla) (Dr Rosenberg); and Dermatology Branch, National Cancer Institute (Dr Blauvelt), Bethesda, Md. Drs Eells, Konwiser, and Aaronson are in private practice.

Arch Dermatol. 1993;129(12):1594-1598. doi:10.1001/archderm.1993.04540010072011

Background and Design:  A spectrum of skin lesions are believed to be secondary to the presence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Demonstration of M tuberculosis directly or in culture in some of these eruptions can be difficult. We used the polymerase chain reaction and a primer/ probe set specifically for M tuberculosis complex DNA to evaluate five types of skin lesions clinically considered to represent infection by, or reaction to, M tuberculosis.

Observations:  Mycobacterium tuberculosis DNA was demonstrated in paraffin-embedded sections of these five cases, representing a variety of clinical and histologic patterns. In two cases, M tuberculosis could not be demonstrated by routine cultural methods.

Conclusion:  DNA diagnostic methods such as the polymerase chain reaction can be used to rapidly identify cutaneous lesions produced by M tuberculosis.