Detection of Mycolactone A/B in Mycobacterium ulcerans–Infected Human Tissue

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PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Background: Mycobacterium ulcerans disease (Buruli ulcer) is a neglected tropical disease common amongst children in rural West Africa. Animal experiments have shown that tissue destruction is caused by a toxin called mycolactone. Methodology/Principal Findings: A molecule was identified among acetone-soluble lipid extracts from M. ulcerans (Mu)- infected human lesions with chemical and biological properties of mycolactone A/B. On thin layer chromatography this molecule had a retention factor value of 0.23, MS analyses showed it had an m/z of 765.6 [M+Na+] and on MS:MS fragmented to produce the core lactone ring with m/z of 429.4 and the polyketide side chain of mycolactone A/B with m/z of 359.2. Acetone-soluble lipids from lesions demonstrated significant cytotoxic, pro-apoptotic and anti-inflammatory activities on cultured fibroblast and macrophage cell lines. Mycolactone A/B was detected in all of 10 tissue samples from patients with ulcerative and pre-ulcerative Mu disease. Conclusions/Significance: Mycolactone can be detected in human tissue infected with Mu. This could have important implications for successful management of Mu infection by antibiotic treatment but further studies are needed to measure its concentration.
An article by PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
PLoS Negl Trop Dis 4(1): e577. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0000577