Document Type




Neisseria meningitidis (Nm) is a leading causative agent of bacterial meningitis in humans. Traditionally, meningococcal meningitis has been diagnosed by bacterial culture. However, isolation of bacteria from patients’ cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is time consuming and sometimes yields negative results. Recently, polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based diagnostic methods of detecting Nm have been considered the gold standard because of their superior sensitivity and specificity compared with culture. In this study, we developed a loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) method and evaluated its ability to detect Nm in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).

Methodology/Principal Findings

We developed a meningococcal LAMP assay (Nm LAMP) that targets the ctrA gene. The primer specificity was validated using 16 strains of N. meningitidis (serogroup A, B, C, D, 29-E, W-135, X, Y, and Z) and 19 non-N. meningitidis species. Within 60 min, the Nm LAMP detected down to ten copies per reaction with sensitivity 1000-fold more than that of conventional PCR. The LAMP assays were evaluated using a set of 1574 randomly selected CSF specimens from children with suspected meningitis collected between 1998 and 2002 in Vietnam, China, and Korea. The LAMP method was shown to be more sensitive than PCR methods for CSF samples (31 CSF samples were positive by LAMP vs. 25 by PCR). The detection rate of the LAMP method was substantially higher than that of the PCR method. In a comparative analysis of the PCR and LAMP assays, the clinical sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value of the LAMP assay were 100%, 99.6%, 80.6%, and 100%, respectively. Conclusions/Significance Compared to PCR, LAMP detected Nm with higher analytical and clinical sensitivity. This sensitive and specific LAMP method offers significant advantages for screening patients on a population basis and for diagnosis in clinical settings.


Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences


© 2015 Lee et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.