In the last few decades, DNA analysis has transformed the field of microbiology. Culture techniques, previously the standard, left up to 50% of bacterial species invisible. When next-generation methods revolutionized this field, it allowed the identification of tremendous numbers of previously unknown organisms. Anaerobic bacteria make up a large part of the microbiome and can be opportunistic and cause illness. Therefore, inability to cultivate these organisms left a large blind spot for clinicians when trying to diagnose the source of infection.
The Gastrointestinal Microbial Assay Plus (GI-Map) was designed to assess a patient’s microbiome from a single stool sample, with particular attention to microbes that may be disturbing normal microbial balance and may contribute to perturbations in the gastrointestinal microbiota or illness. The panel is a comprehensive collection of microbial targets as well as immune and digestive markers. It screens for pathogenic bacteria, commensal bacteria, opportunistic pathogens, fungi, viruses, and parasites. It primarily uses automated DNA analysis to give a better view into the gastrointestinal microbiome.
The GI-MAP measures pathogenic organisms that can cause hospital-acquired infections such as C. difficile or norovirus, foodborne such as E. coli or Salmonella, and common causes of diarrhea such as Camphylobacter or Shigella. This panel measures viral causes of gastroenteritis, unavailable by other common stool tests. It measures parasites such as Cryptosporidium, Giardia,and Entomoeba histolytica. The GI-MAP analyzes Helicobacter pylori and its virulence factors. It can detect opportunistic pathogens such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Proteus mirabilis, associated with autoimmune molecular mimicry. It includes a panel of single-celled, amoebic parasites such as Blastocystis hominis, Dientamoeba fragilis, and Entamoeba coli. Worms such as Necatur americanus and Trichuris trichuria are recent additions to the GI-MAP as well as cytonmegalovirus and Epstein-Barr virus. Fungal organisms include Candida, Geotrichum, Micropsoridia and more. Finally, the GI-MAP measures standard markers of immunity, inflammation and digestion including calprotectin, secretory IgA, anti-gliadin antibody, and pancreatic elastase 1.