Detection of Mycoplasmas in Patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Advances in microbiology
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive degenerative disease of the motor neurons and the cause is unknown. Diverse factors such as genetic defects, nutritional deficiencies, head trauma, environmental toxin, autoimmune responses and viral and bacterial infections are involved. Mycoplasmas have been implicated as causal agents of different illnesses in human. The purpose of this study was to investigate the presence of mycoplasmas in the bloodstream of patients with ALS. Patients
... ith ALS. Patients with ALS and healthy individuals were included in the study. A blood sample was taken in tubes with or without anticoagulant. Mycoplasmas were detected by culture or direct PCR, and the presence of antibodies IgM and IgG against LAMPs of these microorganisms by Western blot. Cultures for aerobic facultative bacteria were also done. Blood samples from 13 patients and 44 healthy individuals were screened. All blood cultures for non-fermentative mycoplasmas and aerobic facultative bacteria were negative. Cultures for fermentative mycoplasmas were considered positive after identification of mycoplasmal DNA by PCR. Mycoplasma sp. was detected by culture or direct PCR in 6/13 (46%) patients and in 4/44 (9%) of healthy individuals. M. fermentans was detected by PCR using specific primers in six patients and in two healthy individuals. IgM against LAMPs of M. fermentans were detected in 6/13 (46%) blood samples from patients and in 13/44 (30%) from healthy individuals, while. IgG was detected in 4/13 (31%) patients and in 3/44 (7%) healthy individuals. The results of this study show that mycoplasmas cause a systemic infection and could play a role in the origin or progression of the ALS.