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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Molecular diagnosis of Campylobacter jejuni infection in cases of focal active colitis.

Campylobacter jejuni (CJ) is the most commonly isolated stool pathogen in the United States. Biopsy findings are typically those of focal active colitis (FAC), a nonspecific pattern usually indicating infection or adverse drug effect that is characterized by focal cryptitis and preservation of crypt architecture. We developed a molecular test for CJ that can be performed on routinely processed gastrointestinal biopsy specimens, and assessed what percentage of patients with biopsy findings of FAC have molecular evidence of CJ infection. One hundred and ten colon biopsies diagnosed as FAC were retrieved from three institutions. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was performed following DNA extraction; primers were designed to target a 286-bp fragment of the mapA gene that is specific to CJ. Pure genomic DNA derived from cultures served as the positive control; reagent blanks and 50 normal colon specimens served as negative controls. Nineteen percent (21/110) of the FAC biopsies were positive for CJ DNA by PCR analysis. Fourteen CJ-positive patients presented with diarrhea, 3 presented with gastrointestinal bleeding, and 3 had incidental FAC found on screening colonoscopy. Ten patients had abnormal colonoscopic findings, including erythema (4), ulcers (4), colitis (1), and hemorrhage (1). As CJ is an enteric pathogen that is not present in the gut as a commensal organism, the presence of CJ DNA suggests current or recent previous infection in these patients. CJ infection should be considered in patients with diarrhea and colon biopsies showing FAC. Furthermore, PCR analysis performed on fixed, routinely processed colon biopsies is an excellent diagnostic method for detection of this organism.[1]


  1. Molecular diagnosis of Campylobacter jejuni infection in cases of focal active colitis. Lamps, L.W., Schneider, E.N., Havens, J.M., Scott, M.A., Goldblum, J.R., Greenson, J.K., Shaffer, R.A. Am. J. Surg. Pathol. (2006) [Pubmed]
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