Synchrotron-Infrared Microspectroscopy of Live Leishmania major Infected Macrophages and Isolated Promastigotes and Amastigotes

Thulya Chakkumpulakkal Puthan Veettil, Rebekah N. Duffin, Supti Roy, Jitraporn Vongsvivut, Mark J. Tobin, Miguela Martin, John A. Adegoke, Philip C. Andrews, Bayden R. Wood

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The prevalence of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) is advancing at an alarming rate. The NTD leishmaniasis is now endemic in over 90 tropical and sub-tropical low socioeconomic countries. Current diagnosis for this disease involves serological assessment of infected tissue by either light microscopy, antibody tests, or culturing with in vitro or in vivo animal inoculation. Furthermore, co-infection by other pathogens can make it difficult to accurately determine Leishmania infection with light microscopy. Herein, for the first time, we demonstrate the potential of combining synchrotron Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) microspectroscopy with powerful discrimination tools, such as partial least squares-discriminant analysis (PLS-DA), support vector machine-discriminant analysis (SVM-DA), and k-nearest neighbors (KNN), to characterize the parasitic forms of Leishmania major both isolated and within infected macrophages. For measurements performed on functional infected and uninfected macrophages in physiological solutions, the sensitivities from PLS-DA, SVM-DA, and KNN classification methods were found to be 0.923, 0.981, and 0.989, while the specificities were 0.897, 1.00, and 0.975, respectively. Cross-validated PLS-DA models on live amastigotes and promastigotes showed a sensitivity and specificity of 0.98 in the lipid region, while a specificity and sensitivity of 1.00 was achieved in the fingerprint region. The study demonstrates the potential of the FTIR technique to identify unique diagnostic bands and utilize them to generate machine learning models to predict Leishmania infection. For the first time, we examine the potential of infrared spectroscopy to study the molecular structure of parasitic forms in their native aqueous functional state, laying the groundwork for future clinical studies using more portable devices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3986–3995
Number of pages10
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2022

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