Confirmation of Confocal Microscopy Diagnosis of Acanthamoeba Keratitis Using Polymerase Chain Reaction Analysis | Cornea | JAMA Ophthalmology | JAMA Network
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Clinical Sciences
February 2000

Confirmation of Confocal Microscopy Diagnosis of Acanthamoeba Keratitis Using Polymerase Chain Reaction Analysis

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Ophthalmology (Drs Mathers, Nelson, Allen, and Folberg and Mr Lane) and Internal Medicine (Dr Wilson), University of Iowa, Iowa City.

Arch Ophthalmol. 2000;118(2):178-183. doi:10.1001/archopht.118.2.178
Abstract

Background  Acanthamoeba keratitis has commonly been identified with in vivo confocal microscopy and confirmed with histologic examination of an epithelial biopsy specimen.

Objective  To determine if Acanthamoeba keratitis can be verified using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) of epithelial biopsy specimens.

Methods  Epithelial specimens from patients with suspected Acanthamoeba keratitis by confocal microscopy were tested for Acanthamoeba with PCR of Acanthamoeba ribosomal DNA.

Results  Twenty-four of 31 patients with evidence of Acanthamoeba keratitis were positive for Acanthamoeba on PCR analysis using 3 sets of primers. In 22 cases, the sequence obtained closely matched Acanthamoeba castellanii.

Conclusions  This study demonstrates that PCR analysis of epithelial biopsy specimens can provide definitive verification of the confocal microscopic and histologic identification of Acanthamoeba organisms associated with keratitis. Acanthamoeba keratitis is probably quite common, especially in contact lens wearers, although more than half of the patients in this study did not wear contact lenses.

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