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    Toxoplasmic encephalitis (TE) is a leading cause of brain mass lesions (BML) in human immunodeficiency viruses (HIV)-infected patients. Yet, so far, no accurate diagnostic approach for TE has been developed. Herein, we presented a case series (9 HIV-infected patients with TG confirmed by RT-PCR of BML) to assess the diagnostic value of reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) on TE. A total of 9 HIV-infected patients with TE confirmed by RT-PCR of BML were included in this study. Clinical data, including clinical symptoms, blood and CSF analysis, neuroimaging features, histopathological characteristics, treatment, and prognosis, were assessed in all patients. According to the results of RT-PCR of BML, all the patients received oral administration of trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole combined with antiretroviral therapy (ART). Patients were followed up by telephone or outpatient service. There were 8 male and 1 female patients; their age ranged from 26 to 56 years-old. The main symptom was intracranial hypertension (6/9). Six patients presented multiple brain lesions, which were mainly located in the supratentorial area (7/9). CD4+ count ranged from 11 to 159 cells/μl (median 92 cells/μl), and serological HIV viral load 0-989190 copies/ml (median 192836 copies/ml). IgG and IgM against serum TG were positive in 7 and 1 patients, respectively. Moreover, regarding CSF, IgG against TG was positive in 3 patients, while all patients were negative for IgM. The neuroimaging features on MRI showed no specificity. Four patients were diagnosed with TE by histopathological findings. After receiving anti-Toxoplasma therapy, 8 (8/9) patients improved clinically to a considerable extent. The application of RT-PCR of BML, together with conventional methods, may significantly improve the diagnostic efficiency of TE.


    Bo Liang, Si-Yuan Yang, Jia-Min Chen, Ting-Yu Liang, Hong-Xin Zhao, Xing-Huan Ding, Fang Wang, En-Shan Feng. Diagnostic value of real-time PCR of brain mass lesion in HIV-associated toxoplasmic encephalitis: a case series. Parasites & vectors. 2020 Nov 10;13(1):564

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    PMID: 33172484

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