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American tegumentary leishmaniasis caused by Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis: assessment of parasite genetic variability at intra- and inter-patient levels

Fernanda S Oliveira1, Cláudia M Valete-Rosalino23, Sandro JB Pacheco2, Filipe A Carvalho Costa1, Armando O Schubach2 and Raquel S Pacheco1*

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratório de Epidemiologia e Sistemática Molecular, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (IOC/FIOCRUZ), Av. Brasil, 4365, Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, CEP 21040-900, Brazil

2 Laboratório de Vigilância em Leishmanioses, Instituto de Pesquisa Clínica Evandro Chagas, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (IPEC/FIOCRUZ), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

3 Departamento de Otorrinolaringologia e Oftalmologia, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Parasites & Vectors 2013, 6:189  doi:10.1186/1756-3305-6-189

Published: 20 June 2013



The genetic variability of Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis was assessed at intra and interpatient levels of individuals with different clinical manifestations of American tegumentary leishmaniasis (ATL).


Fifty-two samples, of which 13 originated from cutaneous lesions and 39 from mucosal lesions, provided by 35 patients, were examined by low-stringency single-specific-primer PCR (LSSP-PCR) and phenetic analysis. Genetic variability of L. (V.) braziliensis, in kinetoplast DNA (kDNA) signatures, was compared both from different patients and from different lesions of the same patient. Phenetic analysis was performed to evaluate the degree of heterogeneity of the kDNA minicircles. In order to evaluate inter and intrapatient L. (V.) braziliensis genetic variability, the percentage of shared bands and analysis of the coefficients of similarity were analyzed.


Different genetic profiles, representing kDNA signatures of the parasite, were obtained by LSSP-PCR analysis of each sample. Phenetic analysis grouped genetic profiles of different levels of differentiation from more similar to most divergent. The percentage of shared bands at the inter and intrapatient levels was 77% and 89%, respectively. Comparison of the average inter and intrapatient coefficients of similarity and their standard deviations were statistically significant (p < 0.001).


Genetic variability at the intrapatient level was less pronounced than that between different patients. A conceptual model was proposed to better understand the complexity at both levels.

Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis; ATL; Genetic variability; LSSP-PCR; Numerical taxonomy