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In situ hybridisation for the detection of Leishmania species in paraffin wax-embedded canine tissues using a digoxigenin-labelled oligonucleotide probe
  1. N. Dinhopl, MagMedVet,
  2. M. M. Mostegl, DrMedVet,
  3. B. Richter, DrMedVet, DipECVP,
  4. N. Nedorost, MSc,
  5. A. Maderner,
  6. K. Fragner and
  7. H. Weissenböck, DrMedVet, DipECPHM
  1. Institute of Pathology and Forensic Veterinary Medicine, Department of Pathobiology, University of Veterinary Medicine, Veterinärplatz 1, 1210 Vienna, Austria
  1. Correspondence to Dr Weissenböck, e-mail: herbert.weissenboeck{at}

The diagnosis of canine leishmaniosis (CanL) is currently predominantly achieved by cytological or histological identification of amastigotes in biopsy samples, demonstration of specific anti-Leishmania antibodies and PCR-based approaches. All these methods have the advantage of being sensitive and more or less specific; nevertheless, most of them also have disadvantages. A chromogenic in situ hybridisation (ISH) procedure with a digoxigenin-labelled probe, targeting a fragment of the 5.8S rRNA was developed for the detection of all species of Leishmania parasites in routinely paraffin wax-embedded canine tissues. This method was validated in comparison with traditional techniques (histology, PCR), on various tissues from three dogs with histological changes consistent with a florid leishmaniosis. Amastigote forms of Leishmania gave clear signals and were easily identified using ISH. Various tissues from 10 additional dogs with clinical suspicion or/and a positive serological test but without histological presence of amastigotes did not show any ISH signals. Potential cross-reactivity of the probe was ruled out by negative outcome of the ISH against selected protozoa (including the related Trypanosoma cruzi) and fungi. Thus, ISH proved to be a powerful tool for unambiguous detection of Leishmania parasites in paraffin wax-embedded tissues.

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  • Provenance not commissioned; externally peer reviewed

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