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Chapter 59 : Mycoplasma: Immunologic and Molecular Diagnostic Methods
This chapter discusses the advantages and disadvantages of current molecular and serologic diagnostic techniques for mycoplasmal infection and ureaplasmal infection. Established approaches to the detection of Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Ureaplasma, Mycoplasma genitalium, and Mycoplasma hominis infections are discussed. A majority of the discussion in the chapter focuses on M. pneumoniae, but many of the same principles and limitations of detection also apply to the other members of the Mollicutes. In addition, the extent to which newer commercial serologic assays for M. pneumoniae will cross-react with M. genitalium or other mycoplasma was not established with certainty, but this seems less likely to be a problem than with complement fixation (CF). An in-depth discussion of various types of commercial M. pneumoniae antibody assays and a comparative analysis of them based on published studies is available in a recent review. Perhaps more than for any other mycoplasma, molecular biology-based techniques have played the critical and indeed defining role in diagnosis of M. genitalium infections. The molecular biology-based techniques and considerations are essentially the same as for the other mycoplasmal species. The most common target gene is 16S rRNA, and both multiplex PCR and real-time PCR assays have been developed. Because of the relative ease of cultivation, standardization and validation of the PCR assays can be more easily achieved.