Rapid and Sensitive Detection of Bartonella bacilliformis in Experimentally Infected Sand Flies by Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) of the Pap31 Gene
BACKGROUND Clinical data have shown that tick-borne diseases caused by Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, Bartonella spp., Coxiella burnetii, and Rickettsia spp. can affect the central nervous system, including the eye. The aim of this study was to establish a relationship between the incidence of cataract and evidence of bacterial infections transmitted by ticks. MATERIAL AND METHODS Fluid with lenticular masses from inside of the eye and blood from 109 patients were tested by PCR and sequencing. Sera from patients and the control group were subjected to serological tests to search specific antibodies to the bacteria. RESULTS Microbiological analysis revealed the presence of Bartonella sp. DNA in intraoperative specimens from the eye in 1.8% of patients. Serological studies have shown that infections caused by B. burgdorferi sensu lato and Bartonella sp. were detected in 34.8% and 4.6% of patients with cataract surgery, respectively. CONCLUSIONS Presence of DNA of yet uncultured and undescribed species of Bartonella in eye liquid indicates past infection with this pathogen. Specific antibodies to B. burgdorferi sensu lato and Bartonella sp. are detected more frequently in patients with cataract compared to the control group. This could indicate a possible role of these organisms in the pathological processes within the eyeball, leading to changes in the lens. Further studies are needed to identify Bartonella species, as well as to recognize the infectious mechanisms involved in cataract development.