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Polymerase chain reaction detection of Mycobacterium paratuberculosis and Mycobacterium avium subsp silvaticum in long term cultures from Crohn's disease and control tissues.
  1. M T Moss,
  2. J D Sanderson,
  3. M L Tizard,
  4. J Hermon-Taylor,
  5. F A el-Zaatari,
  6. D C Markesich,
  7. D Y Graham
  1. Department of Surgery, St George's Hospital Medical School, London.


    Thirty one cultures were established in MG3 medium from the intestinal tissues of 29 patients, including 18 with Crohn's disease, five with ulcerative colitis, and six non-inflammatory bowel disease controls. All cultures grew either acid fast bacilli or uncharacterized spheroplasts. Pellets from these cultures were coded and assayed blind for M paratuberculosis and M avium subsp silvaticum using IS900- and IS902-PCR (polymerase chain reaction) assays, respectively. IS900 and IS902 are multicopy DNA insertion elements specific for these two organisms. Six Crohn's disease cultures and a single non-inflammatory bowel disease control were positive for M paratuberculosis. A further six cultures were positive for M avium subsp silvaticum, of which two each were from Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and non-inflammatory bowel disease controls. The intensity of the IS900-PCR signals indicated very low numbers of M paratuberculosis organisms and bore no relation to visible spheroplastic or bacillary mycobacterial growth. The results suggest that M paratuberculosis isolated from man exists in a form which hardly replicates if at all when cultured in MG3 medium in vitro, and are consistent with the involvement of this known animal enteric pathogen in a proportion of chronic enteritis in man.

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