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Diagnosis of early infection and post chemotherapeutic treatment by copro-DNA detection in experimental opisthorchiasis

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Opisthorchis viverrini is considered as a carcinogenic parasite which is responsible for cholangiocarcinoma in Southeast Asia. Effective treatment and control of the parasite to reduce the risk of cancer requires efficient diagnostic methods. Because of the limitations involved in human studies, the present work is aimed at comparing diagnostic performance of copro-DNA detection by PCR and fecal examination by formalin-ethyl acetate concentration technique (FECT) during the course of O. viverrini infection and postcurative chemotherapy in experimentally infected hamsters. A manual method of DNA preparation from fecal specimens previously established in human studies was used in PCR analysis. Following infection with varying doses of metacercariae (5, 10, 25, and 50 cysts/animal), PCR analyses were positive as early as 3 weeks post-infection while FECT were negative. PCR tests were comparable to FECT regardless of intensity of infection beginning from 4 to 12 weeks post infection. In chemotherapeutic experiments, with reference to the presence of worm in liver, treatment failures were detected by PCR but not FECT in a group of hamsters infected with 10 cysts/animal. PCR and FECT both detected residual infection at 1 and 2 weeks post-treatment in the group of animals infected with five cysts per animal. High concordant results between diagnoses by PCR, FECT, and worm burden indicated that PCR is suitable for an early diagnosis, evaluation of drug efficacy, and also re-infection post-treatment.

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This study was supported by grants from the Office of the Higher Education Commission, the Liver fluke and Cholangiocarcinoma Research Center (LFCRC), Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, Thailand and Higher Education Research Promotion and National Research University Project of Thailand, Office of the Higher Education Commission, through health cluster (SHeP-GMS). Kunyarat Duenngai was supported by the CHE-PhD Scholarship. We wish to acknowledge the support of the Khon Kaen University Publication Clinic, Research and Technology Transfer Affairs, Khon Kaen University, for their assistance.

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Correspondence to Paiboon Sithithaworn.

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Duenngai, K., Boonmars, T., Sithithaworn, J. et al. Diagnosis of early infection and post chemotherapeutic treatment by copro-DNA detection in experimental opisthorchiasis. Parasitol Res 112, 271–278 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00436-012-3134-0

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  • Fecal Sample
  • Praziquantel
  • Worm Burden
  • Liver Fluke
  • Fecal Examination