Polymerase chain reaction for the detection of Neisseria gonorrhoeae in clinical samples.
AIMS: To evaluate the use of a cppB gene derived polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay for direct detection of Neisseria gonorrhoeae in clinical samples. METHODS: A PCR assay was performed on 33 N gonorrhoeae strains and 12 other Neisseria species and other normal genital flora to evaluate the specificity of the chosen cppB primers. The assay was subsequently evaluated with 52 clinical swab samples collected from China. RESULTS: An amplified product of 390 base pairs (bp) was observed with all the N gonorrhoeae strains, each of these products on digestion with the restriction enzyme MspI produced two bands of 250 bp and 140 bp respectively. This set of primers did not produce any amplified product of the expected length with the other non-gonococcal strains tested. For the 52 clinical swabs, 34 were culture positive and PCR successfully detected all these positives. In addition the PCR was positive for two swabs which were culture negative but positive for N gonorrhoeae antigens when tested with the ELISA method (Gonozyme). CONCLUSIONS: This PCR assay is a promising diagnostic tool for detection of gonococci directly from clinical swab samples. Further evaluation is necessary.