Rapid Microscopy and Use of Vital Dyes: Potential to Determine Viability of Cryptococcus neoformans in the Clinical Laboratory
AuthorMcMullan, BJ; Desmarini, D; Djordjevic, JT; Chen, SC-A; Roper, M; Sorrell, TC
Source TitlePLOS ONE
PublisherPUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE
University of Melbourne Author/sMcMullan, Brendan
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsMcMullan, B. J., Desmarini, D., Djordjevic, J. T., Chen, S. C. -A., Roper, M. & Sorrell, T. C. (2015). Rapid Microscopy and Use of Vital Dyes: Potential to Determine Viability of Cryptococcus neoformans in the Clinical Laboratory. PLOS ONE, 10 (1), https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0117186.
Access StatusOpen Access
Open Access at PMChttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4308066
BACKGROUND: Cryptococcus neoformans is the commonest cause of fungal meningitis, with a substantial mortality despite appropriate therapy. Quantitative culture of cryptococci in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) during antifungal therapy is of prognostic value and has therapeutic implications, but is slow and not practicable in many resource-poor countries. METHODS: We piloted two rapid techniques for quantifying viable cryptococci using mixtures of live and heat-killed cryptococci cultured in vitro: (i) quantitative microscopy with exclusion staining using trypan blue dye, and (ii) flow cytometry, using the fluorescent dye 2'-7'-Bis-(2-carboxyethyl)-5-(6)-carboxyfluorescein, acetoxymethyl ester (BCECF-AM). Results were compared with standard quantitative cryptococcal cultures. Quantitative microscopy was also performed on cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples. RESULTS: Both microscopy and flow cytometry distinguished between viable and non-viable cryptococci. Cell counting (on log scale) by microscopy and by quantitative culture were significantly linearly associated (p<0.0001) and Bland-Altman analysis showed a high level of agreement. Proportions of viable cells (on logit scale), as detected by flow cytometry were significantly linearly associated with proportions detected by microscopy (p<0.0001) and Bland-Altman analysis showed a high level of agreement. CONCLUSIONS: Direct microscopic examination of trypan blue-stained cryptococci and flow-cytometric assessment of BCECF-AM-stained cryptococci were in good agreement with quantitative cultures. These are promising strategies for rapid determination of the viability of cryptococci, and should be investigated in clinical practice.
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