MIKROBIYOLOJI BULTENI, vol.49, no.1, pp.105-113, 2015 (SCI-Expanded)
Microsporidia species are obligate intracellular parasites and constitute one of the most important opportunistic pathogens that can cause severe infections especially in immunocompromised patients. Enterocytozoon bieneusi and Encephalitozoon intestinalis are the most common species among 14 microsporidia species identified as human pathogens. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of E.intestinalis and E.bieneusi in cancer patients under chemotherapy by immunofluorescent antibody and conventional staining methods. A total of 123 stool samples obtained from 93 patients (58 male, 35 female) with cancer who were followed in oncology and hematology clinics of our hospital and 30 healthy volunteers (13 male, 17 female) were included in the study. Fifty-one (55%) of the patients had complain of diarrhea. The presence of E.intestinalis and E.bieneusi were investigated by a commercial immunofluorescence antibody test using monoclonal antibodies (IFA-MAbs; Bordier Affinity Products, Switzerland) in all of the samples, and 50 of the samples were also investigated by modified trichrome, acid-fast trichrome and calcofluor staining methods. A total of 65 (69.9%) patients were found positive with IFA-MAbs method, including 43 (46.2%) E.intestinalis, 9 (9.7%) E.bieneusi and 13 (14%) mixed infections. In the control group, 5 (16.7%) subjects were positive with IFA-MAbs method, including 2 (6.7%) E.intestinalis, 1 (3.3%) E.bieneusi and 2 (6.7%) mixed infections. The difference between the positivity rate of the patient and control groups was statistically significant (p< 0.05). Of the patients with diarrhea, 68.6% (35/51) were infected with microsporidia, and the difference between cases with and without (48.6%) diarrhea was statistically significant (p< 0.05). When 50 samples in which all of the methods could be performed were evaluated, the frequency of microsporidia were detected as follows; 66% (n= 33) with IFA-MAbs, 34% (n= 17) with modified trichrome staining, 24% (n= 12) with acid-fast trichrome staining and 42% (n= 21) with calcofluor staining methods. Our data indicated that the use of IFA-MAbs method along with the conventional staining methods in diagnosis of microsporidia will increase the sensitivity. As a conclusion, the prevalence of E.intestinalis and E.bieneusi in cancer patients under chemotherapy was detected quite high (69.9%) in our study, it would be appropriate to screen these patients regularly in terms of microsporidian pathogens.