Indian Journal of Medical Microbiology IAMM  | About us |  Subscription |  e-Alerts  | Feedback |  Login   
  Print this page Email this page   Small font sizeDefault font sizeIncrease font size
 Home | Ahead of Print | Current Issue | Archives | Search | Instructions  
Users Online: 555 Official Publication of Indian Association of Medical Microbiologists 
 ~ Next article
 ~ Previous article 
 ~ Table of Contents
 ~  Similar in PUBMED
 ~  Search Pubmed for
 ~  Search in Google Scholar for
 ~Related articles
 ~  Article in PDF (319 KB)
 ~  Citation Manager
 ~  Access Statistics
 ~  Reader Comments
 ~  Email Alert *
 ~  Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

 ~  Abstract
 ~  Introduction
 ~  Materials and Me...
 ~  Results
 ~  Discussion
 ~  Acknowledgment
 ~  References
 ~  Article Figures
 ~  Article Tables

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded321    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 2    

Recommend this journal


Year : 2010  |  Volume : 28  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 57-59

Extraction and detection of Mycobacterium leprae DNA from ZNCF-stained skin smear slides for better identification of negative skin smears

1 Stanley Browne Laboratory, TLM Community Hospital, Nand Nagari Delhi - 110 093, India
2 Blue Peter Research Centre, Cheralpally, Hyderabad, India
3 Richardson Leprosy Hospital, Sangli-Miraj Road, Miraj - 416 410 Dist. Sangli. Maharashtra, India

Date of Submission14-Nov-2008
Date of Acceptance17-Jun-2009
Date of Web Publication6-Jan-2010

Correspondence Address:
R S Jadhav
Stanley Browne Laboratory, TLM Community Hospital, Nand Nagari Delhi - 110 093
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0255-0857.58732

Rights and Permissions

 ~ Abstract 

Identification of Mycobacterium leprae, which causes leprosy, is done by Ziehl Neelsen Carbol Fuchsin (ZNCF) stained slit skin smear microscopy that aids in the diagnosis and quantification of approximate bacterial load carried by the patient. We attempted M. leprae DNA extraction from 46 stained slit skin smear negative slides, using Proteinase K and SDS lysis, followed by ethanol precipitation. M. leprae specific primers (16SrRNA) were used for PCR-based amplification of DNA. We could detect M. leprae DNA in 15 (32.6%) samples. The method can be useful in the diagnosis of apparently slit skin smear negative leprosy cases.

Keywords: DNA, slit skin smear, polymerase chain reaction, leprosy

How to cite this article:
Kamble R R, Shinde V S, Madhale S P, Kamble A A, Ravikumar B P, Jadhav R S. Extraction and detection of Mycobacterium leprae DNA from ZNCF-stained skin smear slides for better identification of negative skin smears. Indian J Med Microbiol 2010;28:57-9

How to cite this URL:
Kamble R R, Shinde V S, Madhale S P, Kamble A A, Ravikumar B P, Jadhav R S. Extraction and detection of Mycobacterium leprae DNA from ZNCF-stained skin smear slides for better identification of negative skin smears. Indian J Med Microbiol [serial online] 2010 [cited 2021 Jan 22];28:57-9. Available from:

 ~ Introduction Top

Leprosy, caused by Mycobacterium leprae, is a chronic granulomatous disease affecting the skin and peripheral nervous system. Nerve damage and deformity caused by the disease necessitates it to be diagnosed correctly, at the early stages, for effective treatment. Diagnosis of the disease depends on the clinical signs and symptoms and slit skin smear (SSS) positivity. SSS staining can aid in the confirmation of diagnosis in a suspect case, relapse, classification of new patients and also in monitoring the efficacy of treatment. Reproducibility of SSS results depends on individuals and expertise available, as 10 4 bacilli per gram of tissue is required for reliable detection in stained smears. [1] Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), being sensitive and specific, has been used for rapid and accurate detection of microorganisms in clinical samples. Detection of M. leprae in SSS by PCR has been reported [2] and shown to have advantage over both SSS staining and detection of anti-phenolic glycolipid1 antibody. [3] The PCR technology can help arrive at quick and conclusive diagnosis, identification and treatment of early cases, differentiation between leprosy and non-leprosy cases and also for epidemiological purposes.

The SSS-negative mutli-bacillary patients were seen to harbor M. leprae in their tissues even after completion of 24 months of MB-MDT treatment, which makes it necessary to analyze the negative SSS carefully. [4] DNA extraction from stained slides was attempted in many infections and PCR has been successfully carried out with the extracted DNA. [5],[6] Amplification of DNA from stained SSS slides can be used to cross-check the negative slides which may, in turn, help in correct diagnosis or cross referral or even to analyze archived samples. The study attempts to extract DNA from ZNCF-stained SSS slides so as to detect the presence of M. leprae DNA by PCR in the smear negative slides.

 ~ Materials and Methods Top

Forty six archived ZNCF-stained SSS negative slides were obtained from the clinical lab. The slides collected for DNA extraction were from the last five years, stored at room temperature.

Processing of slides and DNA extraction

Xylene treatment was used to remove the oil from the slides. After drying, 150μl of lysis buffer (1 mg/ml Proteinase K and 0.05% Tween 20) was added on the smear and the smear was scraped using fine needle. It was then collected in a 1.5 ml microfuge tube. The tube was incubated at 60°C overnight. About 30 μl of 10% Sodium dodecyl sulfate was added to the lysate and further incubated at 60°C for one hour. The reaction was terminated at 94°C for 15 minutes. The mixture was centrifuged at 10,000 rpm for 10 minutes and the supernatant was carefully transferred to a new clean 1.5 ml microfuge tube. The supernatant was precipitated with ethanol at minus 20°C overnight The DNA was pelleted by centrifuging at 10,000 rpm for 15 minutes. The supernatant was discarded and the pellet was washed again with ethanol. The pellet was air dried and re-suspended in 30 μl of TE buffer (10 m m0 Tris, and 1mM EDTA, pH 8) and dissolved by incubating at 37°C for an hour. This DNA preparation was further used for PCR.

Polymerase chain reaction for detection of M. leprae

The 16S rRNA primers 7 specific for M. leprae viz. P2: CGG AAA GGT CTC TAA AAA ATC TT and P3: CAT CCT GCA CCG CAA AAA GCT T had been used to amplify 173 bp fragment of 16S rRNA gene. The PCR was performed in a total volume of 50 μl, in which 5 μl of sample, 50 ng/reaction of both the primers and 25 μl 2X PCR Premix (Bangalore Genei, Bangalore, India) was added. Reagent negative control and M. leprae DNA positive controls were used. PCR amplification conditions were same as described earlier. [7]

Detection of amplified product

The amplified PCR product was detected using agarose gel electrophoresis. About 10 μl of the PCR product, along with the Orange G (10 mg/ml) loading dye, was electrophoresed through 1.5% agarose gel prepared in a tris-borate EDTA buffer containing Ethidium bromide (10 mg/ml) dye at a final concentration of 0.5 μg/ml at 70 V for 2 hours. The gel was visualized using gel documentation system (Alpha Imager).

 ~ Results Top

The PCR results were interpreted by observing the presence or absence of the amplified 173-bp DNA band in an agarose gel [Figure 1]. We observed that 15 (32.6%) samples showed amplification. Of the 46 smears, 44 were from patients classified as MB type and two were classified as PB type. Both the smears from PB patients were PCR negative [Table 1]. The smears were collected over a span of five years and positivity by PCR did not relate to the storage period of the slide. The study observes that while Proteinase K and SDS help in effective lysis whereas ethanol precipitation and washing help in removal of the stain.

 ~ Discussion Top

Slit skin smears from leprosy patients have been used in PCR and RTPCR studies. [7],[8] Studies on the comparison between PCR-based identification and conventional SSS microscopy found PCR much more sensitive. [8],[9] In our study, this observation is confirmed as some of the SSS negative slides came out to be positive when screened by PCR. The DNA was successfully isolated from stained slides in many other diseases. [10],[11],[12] Paraffin-embedded tissues, Papanicolaou or Giemsa-stained smears have been proved to be suitable for DNA isolation. [10] DNA extraction from ZNCF-stained slides in tuberculosis (TB) has been done to retrospectively study drug resistance and facilitate specimen transportation. [11] This study shows that DNA extraction for PCR can be done from ZNCF- stained SSS slides. The PCR results with SSS negative samples show that this method can be used to retrospectively analyze the archived slides.

The DNA extraction and PCR from ZNCF-stained skin smear slides can be of added advantage in the screening of smear negative slides in leprosy, which will help in administering adequate treatment.

 ~ Acknowledgment Top

We wish to acknowledge the support of The Leprosy Mission, India, to carry out this work. We also acknowledge Dr.Jeyakumar Daniel, Director, TLM India, Dr.P.S.S.Sundar Rao, Research Coordinator, TLM, India for guidance and Mrs. Mallika Lavania for help in the preparation of this manuscript.

 ~ References Top

1.Shepard CC, McRae DH. A method for counting Acid Fast Bacteria. Int J Lepr Other Mycobact Dis 1968;36:78-82.  Back to cited text no. 1  [PUBMED]    
2.Kampirapap K, Singtham N, Klatser PR, Wiriyawipart S. DNA amplification for detection of leprosy and assessment of efficacy of leprosy chemotherapy. Int J Lepr Other Mycobact Dis 1998;66:16-21.  Back to cited text no. 2  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]  
3.Wichitwechkarn J, Karnjan S, Shuntawuttisettee S, Sornprasit C, Kampirapap K, Peerapakorn S. Detection of Mycobacterium leprae infection by PCR. J Clin Microbiol 1995;33:45-9.  Back to cited text no. 3  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]  
4.Sharma A, Sharma VK, Rajwanshi A, Das A, Kaur I, Kumar B. Presence of M. leprae in tissues in slit skin smear negative multibacillary (MB) patients after WHO-MBR. Lepr Rev 1999;70:281-6.  Back to cited text no. 4      
5.Amar CF, Chalmers RM, Elwin K, Tynan P, McLauchlin J. Blinded evaluation of DNA extraction and genotyping of stained Cryptosporidium on glass slides. Lett Appl Microbiol 2002;35:486-8.  Back to cited text no. 5  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]  
6.Yokota M, Tatsumi N, Tsuda I, Yano I. DNA extraction and amplification from Giemsa-stained blood smears. J Clin Lab Anal 1995;9:387-91.  Back to cited text no. 6  [PUBMED]    
7.Jadhav RS, Kamble RR, Shinde VS, Edward S, Edward VK. Use of reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction for the detection of Mycobacterium leprae in the slit-skin smears of leprosy patients. Indian J Lepr 2005;77:116-27.  Back to cited text no. 7  [PUBMED]    
8.Torres P, Camarena JJ, Gomez JR, Nogueira JM, Gimeno V, Navarro JC, et al. Comparison of PCR mediated amplification of DNA and the classical methods for detection of Mycobacterium leprae in different types of clinical samples in leprosy patients and contacts. Lepr Rev 2003;74:18-30.  Back to cited text no. 8      
9.Dayal R, Agarwal M, Natrajan M, Katoch VM, Katoch K, Singh K, et al. PCR and in-situ hybridization for diagnosis of leprosy. Indian J Pediatr 2007;74:645-8.  Back to cited text no. 9      
10.Bisht R, Hoti SL, Thangadurai R, Das PK. Isolation of Wuchereria bancrofti microfilariae from archived stained blood slides for use in genetic studies and amplification of parasite and endosymbiont genes. Acta Trop 2006;99:1-5. Epub 2006 Jul 24. PMID 16860767.  Back to cited text no. 10  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]  
11.Van Der Zanden AG, Te Koppele-Vije EM, Vijaya Bhanu N, Van Soolingen D, Schouls LM. Use of DNA extracts from Ziehl-Neelsen-stained slides for molecular detection of rifampin resistance and spoligotyping of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. J Clin Microbiol 2003;41:1101-8.  Back to cited text no. 11  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]  
12.Suresh N, Arora J, Pant H, Rana T, Singh UB. Spoligotyping of Mycobacterium tuberculosis DNA from archival Ziehl-Neelsen-stained sputum smears. J Microbiol Methods 2007;68:291-5. Epub 2006 Oct 27. PMID 17070946  Back to cited text no. 12  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]  


  [Figure 1]

  [Table 1]

This article has been cited by
1 Spoligotyping ofMycobacterium africanum, Burkina Faso
Michel K. Gomgnimbou,Guislaine Refrégier,Serge P. Diagbouga,Sanou Adama,Antoinette Kaboré,Adama Ouiminga,Christophe Sola
Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2012; 18(1): 117
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
2 Spoligotyping of Mycobacterium africanum, Burkina Faso
Gomgnimbou, M.K., Refrégier, G., Diagbouga, S.P., Adama, S., Kaboré, A., Ouiminga, A., Sola, C.
Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2012; 18(1): 117-119


Print this article  Email this article
Previous article Next article


© 2004 - Indian Journal of Medical Microbiology
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow

Online since April 2001, new site since 1st August '04