Mycoplasma Pneumoniae PCR
Mycoplasmas are atypical bacteria that live as intra- or extracellular parasites. Mycoplasmas can be transmitted through aerosols (M. pneumoniae, M. fermentans, both of which are found in the saliva); sexual transmission is also frequent (M. genitalium). Acute M. pneumoniae infections cause pneumonia, bronchitis; chronic infection in the lungs can exacerbate other respiratory diseases such as asthma. Mycoplasmas can disseminate from their primary infection site to other organs. Central nervous system can be a target, resulting in encephalitis; attack on the joints and development of arthritis is also frequent.
Mycoplasma infections are particularly frequent in CFS patients. Using PCR detection, M. fermentans was found in 34% of CFS patients, versus 8% of healthy controls. Another study showed that more than two third of CFS patients (versus 5.6% of controls) were infected by at least one mycoplasma species (M. fermentans, M. pneumoniae, or M. hominis).
This high prevalence may result from the immunodepression typically observed in CFS (low NK activity); however persistent mycoplasma infections can in turn contribute to the etiology of the disease by eliciting a chronic inflammatory response.
The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a technology in molecular biology used to amplify a single copy or a few copies of a piece of DNA across several orders of magnitude, generating thousands to millions of copies of a particular DNA sequence. The method relies on thermal cycling, consisting of cycles of repeated heating and cooling of the reaction forDNA melting and enzymatic replication of the DNA. Primers (short DNA fragments) containing sequences complementary to the target region along with a DNA polymerase, which the method is named after, are key components to enable selective and repeated amplification. As PCR progresses, the DNA generated is itself used as a template for replication, setting in motion a chain reaction in which the DNA template is exponentially amplified. PCR can be extensively modified to perform a wide array of genetic manipulations.