Differentiation of Entamoeba Histolytica and Entamoeba Dispar Cysts Using Polymerase Chain Reaction on DNA Isolated From Faeces With Spin Columns

Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2000 May;19(5):358-61. doi: 10.1007/s100960050494.


Since Entamoeba histolytica and Entamoeba dispar were formally recognized as two different species at the World Health Organization (WHO)/Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) meeting in Mexico City in 1997, the specific differentiation of the two morphologically identical species would seem relevant in clinical diagnosis. Several polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based methods have been described and used successfully, but methods for DNA isolation from cysts in stool samples are time-consuming and problematic due to inhibitory factors in faeces. The use of the slightly modified QIAamp tissue method (Qiagen, Germany) for DNA isolation was evaluated in 657 unpreserved faecal samples from cases of suspected Entamoeba histolytica/Entamoeba dispar infection. In only 1.7% of the cases was PCR hampered by inhibitors present in the faeces. The DNA isolation procedure was found to be rapid, simple and one that could easily be implemented in a routine diagnostic setting. In 98.8% of Entamoeba histolytica/Entamoeba dispar cyst-positive faecal samples, the true identity of the cysts could be determined using PCR specific for Entamoeba histolytica and Entamoeba dispar, respectively.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA, Protozoan / analysis
  • DNA, Protozoan / isolation & purification*
  • Entamoeba / classification*
  • Entamoeba / genetics
  • Entamoeba / growth & development
  • Entamoeba / isolation & purification
  • Entamoeba histolytica / classification*
  • Entamoeba histolytica / genetics
  • Entamoeba histolytica / growth & development
  • Entamoeba histolytica / isolation & purification
  • Entamoebiasis / diagnosis
  • Entamoebiasis / parasitology*
  • Feces / parasitology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • DNA, Protozoan