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1.  Identification of B Cell Epitopes in the MSG1 Protein of Mycoplasma suis 
Mycoplasma suis (M. suis) is an extracellular bacterial organism that attaches to and causes deformity and damage to porcine red blood cells. M. suis glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase-like protein 1 (MSG1), a membrane-associated adhesion protein, plays a major role in M. suis attachment and infection of porcine erythrocytes. In order to identify the epitopes in MSG1 protein of M. suis, recombinant MSG1 (rMSG1) expressed in Escherichia coli Top10 was purified with affinity chromatography and used to immunize BALB/c mice to prepare and screen monoclonal antibodies (MAbs). Western blot results showed that 1C10, 2F10, 4G10, and 10E9 can specifically react with recombinant MSG1 and M. suis. Moreover, 23 truncated fragments of MSG1 were amplified and cloned into pET-32a vector and induced by IPTG. Different recombinant truncated proteins were used to identify B cell epitopes in the rMSG1 protein. Epitope mapping revealed that MAb 1C10 recognizes the linear epitope D291THGSVF297; MAb 2F10 recognizes the linear epitope L251CLKI255; and MAbs 4G10 and 10E9 recognize the linear epitope I268KDGENE274. The alignment of MSG1 epitope sequences with that of different M. suis strains accessed on NCBI showed that one epitope is highly conserved in M. suis strains. This research is the first to examine the epitopes in MSG1 of M. suis and demonstrate the variations of epitopes.
PMCID: PMC4151056  PMID: 25171002
2.  Serologic Responses to Recombinant Pneumocystis jirovecii Major Surface Glycoprotein among Ugandan Patients with Respiratory Symptoms 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e51545.
Little is known about the serologic responses to Pneumocystis jirovecii major surface glycoprotein (Msg) antigen in African cohorts, or the IgM responses to Msg in HIV-positive and HIV-negative persons with respiratory symptoms.
We conducted a prospective study of 550 patients, both HIV-positive (n = 467) and HIV-negative (n = 83), hospitalized with cough ≥2 weeks in Kampala, Uganda, to evaluate the association between HIV status, CD4 cell count, and other clinical predictors and antibody responses to P. jirovecii. We utilized ELISA to measure the IgM and IgG serologic responses to three overlapping recombinant fragments that span the P. jirovecii major surface glycoprotein: MsgA (amino terminus), MsgB (middle portion) and MsgC1 (carboxyl terminus), and to three variations of MsgC1 (MsgC3, MsgC8 and MsgC9).
HIV-positive patients demonstrated significantly lower IgM antibody responses to MsgC1, MsgC3, MsgC8 and MsgC9 compared to HIV-negative patients. We found the same pattern of low IgM antibody responses to MsgC1, MsgC3, MsgC8 and MsgC9 among HIV-positive patients with a CD4 cell count <200 cells/µl compared to those with a CD4 cell count ≥200 cells/µl. HIV-positive patients on PCP prophylaxis had significantly lower IgM responses to MsgC3 and MsgC9, and lower IgG responses to MsgA, MsgC1, MsgC3, and MsgC8. In contrast, cigarette smoking was associated with increased IgM antibody responses to MsgC1 and MsgC3 but was not associated with IgG responses. We evaluated IgM and IgG as predictors of mortality. Lower IgM responses to MsgC3 and MsgC8 were both associated with increased in-hospital mortality.
HIV infection and degree of immunosuppression are associated with reduced IgM responses to Msg. In addition, low IgM responses to MsgC3 and MsgC8 are associated with increased mortality.
PMCID: PMC3528778  PMID: 23284710
3.  Immunization with Heat Shock Protein A and γ-Glutamyl Transpeptidase Induces Reduction on the Helicobacter pylori Colonization in Mice 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(6):e0130391.
The human gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a successful colonizer of the stomach. H. pylori infection strongly correlates with the development and progression of chronic gastritis, peptic ulcer disease, and gastric malignances. Vaccination is a promising strategy for preventing H. pylori infection. In this study, we evaluated the candidate antigens heat shock protein A (HspA) and H. pylori γ-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) for their effectiveness in development of subunit vaccines against H. pylori infection. rHspA, rGGT, and rHspA-GGT, a fusion protein based on HspA and GGT, were constructed and separately expressed in Escherichia coli and purified. Mice were then immunized intranasally with these proteins, with or without adjuvant. Immunized mice exhibited reduced bacterial colonization in stomach. The highest reduction in bacterial colonization was seen in mice immunized with the fusion protein rHspA-GGT when paired with the mucosal adjuvant LTB. Protection against H. pylori colonization was mediated by a strong systemic and localized humoral immune response, as well as a balanced Th1/Th2 cytokine response. In addition, immunofluorescence microscopy confirmed that rHspA-GGT specific rabbit antibodies were able to directly bind H. pylori in vitro. These results suggest antibodies are essential to the protective immunity associated with rHspA-GGT immunization. In summary, our results suggest HspA and GGT are promising vaccine candidates for protection against H. pylori infection.
PMCID: PMC4478016  PMID: 26102080
4.  Evidence for high prevalence of Pneumocystis jirovecii exposure among Cameroonians 
Acta tropica  2009;112(2):219-224.
Cameroon lacks the capacity for routine Pneumocystis pneumonia (PcP) diagnosis thus, the prevalence of Cameroonian exposure to this microbe is unknown. It is known that Pneumocystis infecting different mammalian host species represent diverse phylogenetic backgrounds and are now designated as separate species. The highly sensitive nature of ELISA and the specificity afforded by using human-derived P. jirovecii Msg peptides has been shown to be useful for serological analysis of human sera. Thus, sera from patients in Yaoundé, the capital city of Cameroon, were analyzed for anti-P. jirovecii antibodies by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) using three recombinant major surface glycoprotein (Msg) peptide fragments, MsgA1, MsgB, and MsgC1. Based on serum recognition of one or more of the three fragments, 82% of the total samples analyzed was positive for antibodies to P. jirovecii Msg, indicating high prevalence of P. jirovecii infection or colonization among Cameroonians. Different Msg fragments appear to be recognized more frequently by sera from different geographic regions of the globe. Antibodies in the Cameroonian serum samples recognized MsgA>MsgC>MsgB, suggesting that different P. jirovecii strains exist in different parts of the world and/or human populations differ in their response to P. jirovecii. Also, HIV+ patients diagnosed with respiratory infections (such as TB and pneumonia) and maintained on trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazol prophylaxis had relatively lower anti-Msg titers. Whether PcP prophylaxis has significant effects on the quality of life among HIV+ patients in Cameroon warrants further investigation.
PMCID: PMC2761101  PMID: 19665440
glycoprotein (Msg); recombinant protein; serology; sub-Sahara Africa
5.  Geographical variation in serological responses to recombinant Pneumocystis jirovecii major surface glycoprotein antigens 
The use of recombinant fragments of the major surface glycoprotein (Msg) of Pneumocystis jirovecii has proven useful for studying serological immune responses of blood donors and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive (HIV+) patients. Here, we have used ELISA to measure antibody titres to Msg fragments (MsgA, MsgB, MsgC1, MsgC3, MsgC8 and MsgC9) in sera isolated in the USA and Spain, to determine whether geographical location affects serological responses to these antigens. Blood donors from Seville exhibited a significantly greater antibody titre to MsgC8, and significantly lower responses to MsgC3 and MsgC9, than did Cincinnati (USA) donors. Spanish blood donors also exhibited elevated responses to MsgC1, MsgC8 and MsgC9 as compared with Spanish HIV+ patients . HIV+ patients who had Pneumocystis pneumonia (PcP+) exhibited a higher response to MsgC8 than did HIV+ PcP- patients. These data show that geographical location plays a role in responsiveness to Msg fragments. Additionally, these fragments have utility in differentiating between patient populations.
PMCID: PMC2766022  PMID: 19416292
Xxxxx; xxxx; xxxx
6.  Mycoplasma suis Antigens Recognized during Humoral Immune Response in Experimentally Infected Pigs 
Clinical and Vaccine Immunology  2006;13(1):116-122.
Today, serodiagnostic tests for Mycoplasma suis infections in pigs have low accuracies. The development of novel serodiagnostic strategies requires a detailed analysis of the humoral immune response elicited by M. suis and, in particular, the identification of antigenic proteins of the agent. For this study, indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and immunoblot analyses were performed using pre- and sequential postinoculation sera from M. suis-infected and mock-infected control pigs. M. suis purified from porcine blood served as the antigen. Eight M. suis-specific antigens (p33, p40, p45, p57, p61, p70, p73, and p83) were identified as targets of the immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody response during experimental infection, with p40, p45, and p70 being the preferentially recognized M. suis antigens. Besides the M. suis-specific antigens, porcine immunoglobulins were identified in blood-derived M. suis preparations. By immunoglobulin depletion, the specificity of the M. suis antigen for use in indirect ELISA was significantly improved. M. suis-specific Western blot and ELISA reactions were observed in all infected pigs by 14 days postinfection at the latest and until week 14, the end of the experiments. During acute clinical attacks of eperythrozoonosis, a derailment of the antibody response, determined by decreases in both the M. suis net ELISA values and the numbers of M. suis-specific immunoblot bands, was accompanied by peaking levels of autoreactive IgG antibodies. In conclusion, the M. suis-specific antigens found to stimulate specific IgG antibodies are potentially useful for the development of novel serodiagnostic tests.
PMCID: PMC1356629  PMID: 16426008
7.  Inorganic pyrophosphatase in uncultivable hemotrophic mycoplasmas: identification and properties of the enzyme from Mycoplasma suis 
BMC Microbiology  2010;10:194.
Mycoplasma suis belongs to a group of highly specialized hemotrophic bacteria that attach to the surface of host erythrocytes. Hemotrophic mycoplasmas are uncultivable and the genomes are not sequenced so far. Therefore, there is a need for the clarification of essential metabolic pathways which could be crucial barriers for the establishment of an in vitro cultivation system for these veterinary significant bacteria.
Inorganic pyrophosphatases (PPase) are important enzymes that catalyze the hydrolysis of inorganic pyrophosphate PPi to inorganic phosphate Pi. PPases are essential and ubiquitous metal-dependent enzymes providing a thermodynamic pull for many biosynthetic reactions. Here, we describe the identification, recombinant production and characterization of the soluble (s)PPase of Mycoplasma suis.
Screening of genomic M. suis libraries was used to identify a gene encoding the M. suis inorganic pyrophosphatase (sPPase). The M. suis sPPase consists of 164 amino acids with a molecular mass of 20 kDa. The highest identity of 63.7% was found to the M. penetrans sPPase. The typical 13 active site residues as well as the cation binding signature could be also identified in the M. suis sPPase. The activity of the M. suis enzyme was strongly dependent on Mg2+ and significantly lower in the presence of Mn2+ and Zn2+. Addition of Ca2+ and EDTA inhibited the M. suis sPPase activity. These characteristics confirmed the affiliation of the M. suis PPase to family I soluble PPases. The highest activity was determined at pH 9.0. In M. suis the sPPase builds tetramers of 80 kDa which were detected by convalescent sera from experimentally M. suis infected pigs.
The identification and characterization of the sPPase of M. suis is an additional step towards the clarification of the metabolism of hemotrophic mycoplasmas and, thus, important for the establishment of an in vitro cultivation system. As an antigenic and conserved protein the M. suis sPPase could in future be further analyzed as a diagnostic antigen.
PMCID: PMC2916918  PMID: 20646294
8.  Seroepidemiological study of Pneumocystis jirovecii infection in healthy infants in Chile using recombinant fragments of the P. jirovecii major surface glycoprotein 
To characterize the seroepidemiological features of Pneumocystis jirovecii infection in healthy Chilean children using overlapping fragments (A, B, C) of the P. jirovecii major surface glycoprotein (Msg).
Serum antibodies to MsgA, MsgB, and MsgC were measured every 2 months by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in 45 Chilean infants from about age 2 months to 2 years.
Peak antibody levels (usually reached at age 6 months) and the force (or rate) of infection were somewhat greater for MsgC than for MsgA. Significant seasonal variation in antibody levels was only found with MsgA. Respiratory infections occurred in most children, but nasopharyngeal aspirates were of limited value in detecting the organism. In contrast, serological responses commonly occurred, and higher levels only to MsgC were significantly related to the number of infections.
Serological responses to recombinant Msg fragments provide new insights into the epidemiological and clinical features of P. jirovecii infection of early childhood. MsgA, the amino terminus fragment, is more sensitive in detecting seasonal influences on antibody levels, whereas MsgC is better able to detect changes in antibody levels in response to clinical infection.
PMCID: PMC2995006  PMID: 20926326
Serological responses; Pneumocystis; Major surface glycoprotein (Msg); Children
9.  Antibodies to actin in autoimmune haemolytic anaemia 
In autoimmune haemolytic anaemia (AIHA), autoreactive antibodies directed against red blood cells are up-regulated, leading to erythrocyte death. Mycoplasma suis infections in pigs induce AIHA of both the warm and cold types. The aim of this study was to identify the target autoantigens of warm autoreactive IgG antibodies. Sera from experimentally M. suis-infected pigs were screened for autoreactivity.
Actin-reactive antibodies were found in the sera of 95% of all animals tested. The reactivity was species-specific, i.e. reactivity with porcine actin was significantly higher than with rabbit actin. Sera of animals previously immunised with the M. suis adhesion protein MSG1 showed reactivity with actin prior to infection with M. suis indicating that molecular mimicry is involved in the specific autoreactive mechanism. A potentially cross-reactive epitope was detected.
This is the first report of autoreactive anti-actin antibodies involved in the pathogenesis of autoimmune haemolytic anaemia.
PMCID: PMC3003239  PMID: 20353574
10.  Cloning and Characterization of the Gene Encoding the Glutamate Dehydrogenase of Streptococcus suis Serotype 2 
Given the lack of effective vaccines to control Streptococcus suis infection and the lack of a rapid and reliable molecular diagnostic assay to detect its infection, a polyclonal antibody was raised against the whole-cell protein of S. suis type 2 and used to screen an S. suis gene library in an effort to identify protective antigen(s) and antigens of diagnostic importance. A clone that produced a 45-kDa S. suis-specific protein was identified by Western blotting. Restriction analysis showed that the gene encoding the 45-kDa protein was present on a 1.6-kb pair DraI region on the cloned chromosomal fragment. The nucleotide sequence contained an open reading frame that encoded a polypeptide of 448 amino acid residues with a calculated molecular mass of 48.8 kDa, in close agreement with the size observed on Western blots. A GenBank database search revealed that the derived amino acid sequence is homologous to the sequence of glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH) protein isolated from various sources, including conserved motifs and functional domains typical of the family 1-type hexameric GDH proteins, thus placing it in that family. Because of these similarities, the protein was designated the GDH of S. suis. Hybridization studies showed that the gene is conserved among the S. suis type 2 strains tested. Antiserum raised against the purified recombinant protein was reactive with a protein of the same molecular size as the recombinant protein in S. suis strains, suggesting expression of the gene in all of the isolates and antigenic conservation of the protein. The recombinant protein was reactive with serum from pigs experimentally infected with a virulent strain of S. suis type 2, suggesting that the protein might serve as an antigen of diagnostic importance to detect S. suis infection. Activity staining showed that the S. suis GDH activity is NAD(P)H dependent but, unlike the NAD(P)H-dependent GDH from various other sources, that of S. suis utilizes l-glutamate rather than α-ketoglutarate as the substrate. Highly virulent strains of S. suis type 2 could be distinguished from moderately virulent and avirulent strains on the basis of their GDH protein profile following activity staining on a nondenaturing gel. We examined the cellular location of the protein using a whole-cell enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and an immunogold-labeling technique. Results showed that the S. suis GDH protein is exposed at the surface of intact cells.
PMCID: PMC96045  PMID: 11238204
11.  O-Polysaccharide Epitopic Heterogeneity at the Surface of Brucella spp. Studied by Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay and Flow Cytometry 
Smooth Brucella strains are classified into three serotypes, i.e., A+M−, A−M+, and A+M+, according to slide agglutination with A and M monospecific polyclonal sera. The epitopes involved have been located on the O-polysaccharide (O-PS) moiety of the smooth lipopolysaccharide (S-LPS), which represents the most exposed antigenic structure on the surface of Brucella spp. By use of monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) a number of epitope specificities on the O-PS have been reported: A, M, and epitopes shared by both A and M dominant strains, which have been named common (C) epitopes. The latter have been further subdivided, according to relative MAb binding in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) to A- and M-dominant Brucella strains and to cross-reacting Yersinia enterocolitica O:9, into five epitopic specificities: C (M>A), C (M=A), C/Y (M>A), C/Y (M=A), and C/Y (A>M). In the present study, we studied the occurrence of these epitopes at the surface of representatives of all Brucella species and biovars including the live vaccine strains by analyzing the levels of MAb binding to whole Brucella cells in ELISA and flow cytometry assays. In ELISA, the level of MAb binding correlated well with the previously defined epitope specificity and the serotype defined by polyclonal sera for each Brucella species, biovar, or strain. However, MAbs to the C (M=A) and C (M>A) epitopes showed insignificant binding to B. suis biovar 2 strains and bound at lower titers to B. suis biovar 3 and B. neotomae than to the other Brucella strains. Some of the flow cytometry results were contradictory to those obtained by ELISA. In fact, it appeared by flow cytometry that all O-PS epitopes, including the A and M epitopes, are shared to different degrees by Brucella spp. which nevertheless show a high degree of O-PS heterogeneity according to MAb binding intensities. The subdivision of MAb specificities and Brucella serotypes was therefore less evident by flow cytometry than by ELISA. Whereas in ELISA the MAb specific for the A epitope showed insignificant binding to Y. enterocolitica O:9, this MAb bound strongly to Y. enterocolitica O:9 in flow cytometry. One of the two MAbs specific to the C (M=A) epitope also bound at a low but significant level to B. suis biovar 2 strains. However, as in ELISA the MAb specific for the C (M>A) epitope did not bind at all to B. suis biovar 2 strains in flow cytometry. Flow cytometry provided new information regarding specificity of the MAbs and may further explain some aspects of the capacity of passive protection of some MAbs against smooth Brucella infection in mice. As shown in the present study the occurrence of Brucella strains apparently completely devoid of one specific C O-PS epitope (e.g., B. suis biovar 2 devoid of the C [M>A] epitope) offers the possibility of obtaining vaccine strains devoid of a diagnostic O-PS epitope, which could further help to resolve the problem of discriminating infected from vaccinated animals that remains a major goal in brucellosis research.
PMCID: PMC96216  PMID: 9801349
12.  A Novel Blocking ELISA for Detection of Antibodies against Hepatitis E Virus in Domestic Pigs 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(3):e0152639.
Hepatitis E virus (HEV) infects both humans and animals, with an overall human mortality rate generally less than 1%, but as high as 20% among pregnant women. HEV strains fall into 4 major genotypes. Zoonotic genotypes 3 and 4 associate with sporadic human and animal HEV cases in many industrialized countries. To date, collective evidence implicates pigs as the main HEV reservoir, justifying the importance of monitoring HEV infection rates in pig herds to prevent human illness. Due to the lack of a robust in vitro cell culture system for viral propagation, no “gold standard” assay has yet been developed to detect HEV infection in domestic pigs. 1E4, a monoclonal antibody (mAb) specific for the C-terminal 268 amino acids of HEV genotype 4 ORF2 capsid protein (sORF2-C), was generated and conjugated to horseradish peroxidase (HRP) for use in a blocking ELISA (bELISA). Optimal sORF2-C coating antigen concentration (8 μg/ml), HRP-1E4 dilution (1:1000), and test pig serum dilution (1:20) were determined using a checkerboard titration test. A cut-off value of 16.9% was chosen to differentiate between positive vs. negative sera after mean percent inhibition (PI) testing of 230 negative pig sera. Compared with the indirect ELISA (iELISA), western blot, and a commercial ELISA kit for detecting anti-HEV antibodies in human sera, the bELISA showed no statistical differences and statistically high coincidence of 93.23%, 92%, and 95% with the other tests, respectively. A blocking ELISA (bELISA) for detecting anti-HEV antibodies in pig serum samples was developed with high sensitivity and high specificity comparable to that of the indirect ELISA. The bELISA results exhibited high agreement with iELISA, western blot, and a commercial ELISA kit designed to detect human anti-HEV antibodies. Therefore, bELISA should serve as an ideal method for large-scale serological investigation of anti-HEV antibodies in domestic pigs.
PMCID: PMC4811412  PMID: 27023902
13.  Discordant antibody and cellular responses to Pneumocystis major surface glycoprotein variants in mice 
BMC Immunology  2012;13:39.
The major surface glycoprotein (Msg) of Pneumocystis is encoded by approximately 50 to 80 unique but related genes. Msg diversity may represent a mechanism for immune escape from host T cell responses. We examined splenic T cell proliferative and cytokine as well as serum antibody responses to recombinant and native Pneumocystis antigens in immunized or Pneumocystis-infected mice. In addition, immune responses were examined in 5 healthy humans.
Proliferative responses to each of two recombinant Msg variant proteins were seen in mice immunized with either recombinant protein, but no proliferation to these antigens was seen in mice immunized with crude Pneumocystis antigens or in mice that had cleared infection, although the latter animals demonstrated proliferative responses to crude Pneumocystis antigens and native Msg. IL-17 and MCP-3 were produced in previously infected animals in response to the same antigens, but not to recombinant antigens. Antibody responses to the recombinant P. murina Msg variant proteins were seen in all groups of animals, demonstrating that all groups were exposed to and mounted immune responses to Msg. No human PBMC samples proliferated following stimulation with P. jirovecii Msg, while antibody responses were detected in sera from 4 of 5 samples.
Cross-reactive antibody responses to Msg variants are common, while cross-reactive T cell responses are uncommon; these results support the hypothesis that Pneumocystis utilizes switching of Msg variant expression to avoid host T cell responses.
PMCID: PMC3411419  PMID: 22788748
Antigenic variation; Immune response; Major surface glycoprotein; Pneumocystis
14.  Production and Evaluation of Toxoplasma gondii Recombinant Surface Antigen 1 (SAG1) for Serodiagnosis of Acute and Chronic Toxoplasma Infection in Human Sera 
The assays currently available for the detection of specific anti-Toxoplasma antibodies may vary in their abilities to detect serum immunoglobulins, due to the Lack of a purified standardized antigen. The aim of this study was evaluation the recombinant Toxoplasma gondii SAG1 antigen for the serodiagnosis of acute and chronic toxoplasmosis.
This study describes an ELISA using recombinant SAG1 for detection of IgM and IgG antibodies against Toxoplasma gondii in human sera. Genomic DNA of T. gondii (RH Strain) was isolated and PCR reaction was performed. Recovered DNA was cloned into PTZ57R cloning vector. The recombinant plasmid was detected by restriction analysis. The SAG1 gene was subcloned in the pET- 28a expression vector. Protein production was then induced with 1 mM isopropyl-D – thiogalactopyranoside (IPTG). A total of 204 sera were tested using a commercial IgG and IgM ELISA kit (Trinity, USA) as gold standard prior to testing them with the recombinant antigen.
Tested sera were divided into the following groups:(a) The 74 T. gondii IgG positive (b) 70 T.gondii IgM positive (c) 60 sera who had no serological evidence of toxoplasmosis as negative sera.To determine the specificity of the test, we used other parasitic diseases including echinococusis (N=5), malaria (N=14), leishmaniasis (N=7),fasciolasis (N=4), sterengyloidiasis (N=1). Sensitivity and specificity of the generated recombinant IgG ELISA in comparison with commercial ELISA (Com ELISA) were 93% and 95%, and the sensitivity and specificity of the generated recombinant IgM ELISA were 87% and 95% respectively.
The results acquired here show that this antigen is useful for diagnostic purposes and could be replaced by lysed, whole cell antigens for diagnosis of chronic toxoplasmosis.
PMCID: PMC3469165  PMID: 23109955
Toxoplasma gondii; Recombinant SAG1; Acute toxoplasmosis; Chronic infection
15.  Serum Antibody Levels to the Pneumocystis jirovecii Major Surface Glycoprotein in the Diagnosis of P. jirovecii Pneumonia in HIV+ Patients 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(12):e14259.
Pneumocystis jirovecii remains an important cause of fatal pneumonia (Pneumocystis pneumonia or PcP) in HIV+ patients and other immunocompromised hosts. Despite many previous attempts, a clinically useful serologic test for P. jirovecii infection has never been developed.
Methods/Principal Findings
We analyzed serum antibody responses to the P. jirovecii major surface glycoprotein recombinant fragment C1 (MsgC1) in 110 HIV+ patients with active PcP (cases) and 63 HIV+ patients with pneumonia due to other causes (controls) by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The cases had significantly higher IgG and IgM antibody levels to MsgC1 than the controls at hospital admission (week 0) and intervals up to at least 1 month thereafter. The sensitivity, specificity and positive predictive value (PPV) of IgG antibody levels increased from 57.2%, 61.7% and 71.5% at week 0 to 63.4%, 100%, and 100%, respectively, at weeks 3–4. The sensitivity, specificity and PPV of IgM antibody levels rose from 59.7%, 61.3%, and 79.3% at week 0 to 74.6%, 73.7%, and 89.8%, respectively, at weeks 3–4. Multivariate analysis revealed that a diagnosis of PcP was the only independent predictor of high IgG and IgM antibody levels to MsgC1. A high LDH level, a nonspecific marker of lung damage, was an independent predictor of low IgG antibody levels to MsgC1.
The results suggest that the ELISA shows promise as an aid to the diagnosis of PCP in situations where diagnostic procedures cannot be performed. Further studies in other patient populations are needed to better define the usefulness of this serologic test.
PMCID: PMC3000336  PMID: 21151564
16.  Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Infected Patients with Prior Pneumocystis Pneumonia Exhibit Increased Serologic Reactivity to Several Major Surface Glycoprotein Clones 
Clinical and Vaccine Immunology  2006;13(10):1071-1078.
Recombinant clones of the carboxyl terminus of the major surface glycoprotein (MsgC) of Pneumocystis jirovecii are useful for analyzing serologic responses in humans. However, there is no standardized set of antigens in general use, which could lead to conflicting results. We have previously shown that human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-infected patients with prior Pneumocystis pneumonia (PcP+) responded more frequently and more strongly to a clone of MsgC than did HIV-1-infected patients without PcP (PcP−). Here we test three new clones of MsgC to determine the effect of antigenic sequence variation on immune reactivity in blood donors and HIV-infected patients previously analyzed for reactivity to our original MsgC clone. In Western blot analyses, PcP+ patients exhibited the highest frequency of reactivity to each MsgC clone, and the frequency of reactivity with all four MsgC clones together was significantly higher in sera from PcP+ patients than in sera from the other patient groups. Furthermore, in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay we found that the PcP+ population had the highest level of reactivity to two of the four clones tested. One of the new clones could distinguish between PcP+ and PcP− populations, and two MsgC clones could distinguish blood donors from the other patient populations. The results show that inherent differences in MsgC amino acid sequence can affect recognition by antibodies independently of variations in protein length or patient population, and the utility of a clone depends on its sequence and on the populations tested.
PMCID: PMC1595325  PMID: 17028210
17.  Immunosorbent Assay Based on Recombinant Hemagglutinin Protein Produced in a High-Efficiency Mammalian Expression System for Surveillance of Measles Immunity 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1998;36(3):721-726.
Recombinant hemagglutinin (H) protein of the measles virus (MV) was produced in mammalian cells with a high-yield expression system based on the Semliki Forest virus replicon. Crude membrane preparations of H protein-transfected BHK-21 cells were used to coat microtiter plates to measure specific immunoglobulin G antibodies in 228 serologically defined serum samples mainly from measles late-convalescent adults. The titers by the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for the H protein (H-ELISA) closely correlated with neutralization test (NT) titers (R2 = 0.66), hemagglutination inhibition test (HI) titers (R2 = 0.64), with the titers from a certified commercial ELISA based on whole MV-infected cells (MV-ELISA; R2 = 0.45). The correlations described above were better than those of the commercial MV-ELISA titers with the NT (R2 = 0.52) or HI (R2 = 0.48) titers. By using the 2nd International Standard for anti-measles serum, the detection level of the assay corresponds to 215 mIU/ml for undiluted serum, which corresponds to the estimated threshold for protective immunity. The specificity, accuracy, and positive predictive value were, in general, better for the H-ELISA than for a commercial MV-ELISA, independent of whether HI, NT, or HI and NT were used as “gold standards.” In contrast, the H-ELISA proved to be slightly less sensitive than the MV-ELISA (sensitivities, 98.6 versus 99.5%, respectively; P was not significant). The assays did not differ significantly in the number of serum samples with positive HI and NT results (n = 212) which measured false negative (H-ELISA, 2 of 212 [0.94%]; MV-ELISA, 1 of 212 [0.47%]), but the H-ELISA detected significantly more measles-susceptible individuals than the MV-ELISA (10 of 11 versus 3 of 11, respectively; P < 0.05) among the individuals whose sera had negative HI and NT results. Our data demonstrate that the H-protein preparation that we describe could be a cost-effective alternative to current whole-virus-based ELISAs for surveillance for immunity to measles and that such an assay could be more efficient in detecting susceptibility to measles. Furthermore, unlike whole MV-based antigens, H-protein would also be suitable for use in the development of a simple field test for the diagnosis of measles.
PMCID: PMC104615  PMID: 9508302
18.  A Virus-Like Particle Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay Detects Serum Antibodies in a Majority of Women Infected With Human Papillomavirus Type 16 
Previous studies have demonstrated that genital infection with high-risk types of human papillomavirus (HPV), most often HPV16, is the most significant risk factor for the development of cervical cancer. However, serologic assays that have been developed to identify high-risk HPV infection have either failed to associate serum reactivity with other indicators of HPV infection or have identified only a minority of HPV-infected individuals.
Our purpose was to determine whether a specifically developed enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) could detect IgG anti-HPV16 virion antibodies in the sera of women who had tested positive for genital HPV16 infection by DNA-based methods.
An ELISA was developed using newly developed HPV16 virus-like particles as antigens to detect anti-HPV16 virion IgG antibodies. These particles are comprised of HPV16 structural proteins that are self-assembled in insect cells after expression by recombinant baculo-viruses. The sera of 122 women, whose HPV status had been previously evaluated by nucleic acid-based methods, were tested by this ELISA.
The sera of 59% of women (32 of 54) positive for genital HPV16 DNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) were positive in the ELISA assay compared with sera from women who had tested negative for HPV DNA (P<.0005). In contrast, 6% of HPV DNA-negative women (two of 31) and 9% of women positive for low-risk HPV6/11 DNA (one of 11) were ELISA positive by this criterion. The sera of women who were DNA positive for two additional high-risk HPV types were evaluated; the sera of 31% of HPV18-positive (four of 13) and 38% of HPV31-positive women (five of 13) were positive in the HPV16 particle ELISA. The sera of 75% of HPV16 DNA-positive women with severe dysplasias (12 of 16) gave positive ELISA results. The sera of 67% of women (28 of 42) who tested positive for HPV16 DNA by both PCR and the less sensitive ViraType assay tested positive in the ELISA compared with 33% of women (four of 12) who were positive by PCR but negative by ViraType (P<.05).
The majority of women with cervical HPV16 infection generate an IgG antibody response to conformationally dependent epitopes of HPV16 L1 that can be detected by ELISA.
This particular ELISA, or a similar one incorporating virus-like particles of additional HPV types, may be useful in determining the natural history of high-risk HPV infection and perhaps help to identify women at risk for developing cervical cancer.
PMCID: PMC3935441  PMID: 8133532
19.  Mycoplasma suis Invades Porcine Erythrocytes▿  
Infection and Immunity  2008;77(2):576-584.
Mycoplasma suis belongs to the hemotrophic mycoplasma group and causes infectious anemia in pigs. According to the present state of knowledge, this organism adheres to the surface of erythrocytes but does not invade them. We found a novel M. suis isolate that caused severe anemia in pigs with a fatal disease course. Interestingly, only marginal numbers of the bacteria were visible on and between the erythrocytes in acridine orange-stained blood smears for acutely diseased pigs, whereas very high loads of M. suis were detected in the same blood samples by quantitative PCR. These findings indicated that M. suis is capable of invading erythrocytes. By use of fluorescent labeling of M. suis and examination by confocal laser scanning microscopy, as well as scanning and transmission electron microscopy, we proved that the localization of M. suis was intracellular. This organism invades erythrocytes in an endocytosis-like process and is initially surrounded by two membranes, and it was also found floating freely in the cytoplasm. In conclusion, we were able to prove for the first time that a member of the hemotrophic mycoplasma group is able to invade the erythrocytes of its host. Such colonization should protect the bacterial cells from the host's immune response and hamper antibiotic treatment. In addition, an intracellular life cycle may explain the chronic nature of hemotrophic mycoplasma infections and should serve as the foundation for novel strategies in hemotrophic mycoplasma research (e.g., treatment or prophylaxis).
PMCID: PMC2632055  PMID: 19015255
20.  Identification of the Gene Encoding a 38-Kilodalton Immunogenic and Protective Antigen of Streptococcus suis 
In our continued effort to search for a Streptococcus suis protein(s) that can serve as a vaccine candidate or a diagnostic reagent, we constructed and screened a gene library with a polyclonal antibody raised against the whole-cell protein of S. suis type 2. A clone that reacted with the antibody was identified and characterized. Analysis revealed that the gene encoding the protein is localized within a 2.0-kbp EcoRI DNA fragment. The nucleotide sequence contained an open reading frame that encoded a polypeptide of 445 amino acid residues with a calculated molecular mass of 46.4 kDa. By in vitro protein synthesis and Western blot experiments, the protein exhibited an electrophoretic mobility of approximately 38 kDa. At the amino acid level the deduced primary sequence shared homology with sequences of unknown function from Streptococcus pneumoniae (89%), Streptococcus mutans (86%), Lactococcus lactis (80%), Listeria monocytogenes (74%), and Clostridium perfringens (64%). Except for strains of serotypes 20, 26, 32, and 33, Southern hybridization analysis revealed the presence of the gene in strains of other S. suis serotypes and demonstrated restriction fragment length differences caused by a point mutation in the EcoRI recognition sequence. We confirmed expression of the 38-kDa protein in the hybridization-positive isolates using specific antiserum against the purified protein. The recombinant protein was reactive with serum from pigs experimentally infected with virulent strains of S. suis type 2, suggesting that the protein is immunogenic and may serve as an antigen of diagnostic importance for the detection of most S. suis infections. Pigs immunized with the recombinant 38-kDa protein mounted antibody responses to the protein and were completely protected against challenge with a strain of a homologous serotype, the wild-type virulent strain of S. suis type 2, suggesting that it may be a good candidate for the development of a vaccine that can be used as protection against S. suis infection. Analysis of the cellular fractions of the bacterium by Western blotting revealed that the protein was present in the surface and cell wall extracts. The functional role of the protein with respect to pathogenesis and whether antibodies against the antigen confer protective immunity against diseases caused by strains of other pathogenic S. suis capsular types remains to be determined.
PMCID: PMC1074381  PMID: 15817754
21.  Clinical Utility of Serologic Testing for Celiac Disease in Ontario 
Executive Summary
Objective of Analysis
The objective of this evidence-based evaluation is to assess the accuracy of serologic tests in the diagnosis of celiac disease in subjects with symptoms consistent with this disease. Furthermore the impact of these tests in the diagnostic pathway of the disease and decision making was also evaluated.
Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that develops in genetically predisposed individuals. The immunological response is triggered by ingestion of gluten, a protein that is present in wheat, rye, and barley. The treatment consists of strict lifelong adherence to a gluten-free diet (GFD).
Patients with celiac disease may present with a myriad of symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, weight loss, iron deficiency anemia, dermatitis herpetiformis, among others.
Serologic Testing in the Diagnosis Celiac Disease
There are a number of serologic tests used in the diagnosis of celiac disease.
Anti-gliadin antibody (AGA)
Anti-endomysial antibody (EMA)
Anti-tissue transglutaminase antibody (tTG)
Anti-deamidated gliadin peptides antibodies (DGP)
Serologic tests are automated with the exception of the EMA test, which is more time-consuming and operator-dependent than the other tests. For each serologic test, both immunoglobulin A (IgA) or G (IgG) can be measured, however, IgA measurement is the standard antibody measured in celiac disease.
Diagnosis of Celiac Disease
According to celiac disease guidelines, the diagnosis of celiac disease is established by small bowel biopsy. Serologic tests are used to initially detect and to support the diagnosis of celiac disease. A small bowel biopsy is indicated in individuals with a positive serologic test. In some cases an endoscopy and small bowel biopsy may be required even with a negative serologic test. The diagnosis of celiac disease must be performed on a gluten-containing diet since the small intestine abnormalities and the serologic antibody levels may resolve or improve on a GFD.
Since IgA measurement is the standard for the serologic celiac disease tests, false negatives may occur in IgA-deficient individuals.
Incidence and Prevalence of Celiac Disease
The incidence and prevalence of celiac disease in the general population and in subjects with symptoms consistent with or at higher risk of celiac disease based on systematic reviews published in 2004 and 2009 are summarized below.
Incidence of Celiac Disease in the General Population
Adults or mixed population: 1 to 17/100,000/year
Children: 2 to 51/100,000/year
In one of the studies, a stratified analysis showed that there was a higher incidence of celiac disease in younger children compared to older children, i.e., 51 cases/100,000/year in 0 to 2 year-olds, 33/100,000/year in 2 to 5 year-olds, and 10/100,000/year in children 5 to 15 years old.
Prevalence of Celiac Disease in the General Population
The prevalence of celiac disease reported in population-based studies identified in the 2004 systematic review varied between 0.14% and 1.87% (median: 0.47%, interquartile range: 0.25%, 0.71%). According to the authors of the review, the prevalence did not vary by age group, i.e., adults and children.
Prevalence of Celiac Disease in High Risk Subjects
Type 1 diabetes (adults and children): 1 to 11%
Autoimmune thyroid disease: 2.9 to 3.3%
First degree relatives of patients with celiac disease: 2 to 20%
Prevalence of Celiac Disease in Subjects with Symptoms Consistent with the Disease
The prevalence of celiac disease in subjects with symptoms consistent with the disease varied widely among studies, i.e., 1.5% to 50% in adult studies, and 1.1% to 17% in pediatric studies. Differences in prevalence may be related to the referral pattern as the authors of a systematic review noted that the prevalence tended to be higher in studies whose population originated from tertiary referral centres compared to general practice.
Research Questions
What is the sensitivity and specificity of serologic tests in the diagnosis celiac disease?
What is the clinical validity of serologic tests in the diagnosis of celiac disease? The clinical validity was defined as the ability of the test to change diagnosis.
What is the clinical utility of serologic tests in the diagnosis of celiac disease? The clinical utility was defined as the impact of the test on decision making.
What is the budget impact of serologic tests in the diagnosis of celiac disease?
What is the cost-effectiveness of serologic tests in the diagnosis of celiac disease?
Literature Search
A literature search was performed on November 13th, 2009 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, the Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), the Cochrane Library, and the International Agency for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) for studies published from January 1st 2003 and November 13th 2010. Abstracts were reviewed by a single reviewer and, for those studies meeting the eligibility criteria, full-text articles were obtained. Reference lists were also examined for any additional relevant studies not identified through the search. Articles with unknown eligibility were reviewed with a second clinical epidemiologist, then a group of epidemiologists until consensus was established. The quality of evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low or very low according to GRADE methodology.
Studies that evaluated diagnostic accuracy, i.e., both sensitivity and specificity of serology tests in the diagnosis of celiac disease.
Study population consisted of untreated patients with symptoms consistent with celiac disease.
Studies in which both serologic celiac disease tests and small bowel biopsy (gold standard) were used in all subjects.
Systematic reviews, meta-analyses, randomized controlled trials, prospective observational studies, and retrospective cohort studies.
At least 20 subjects included in the celiac disease group.
English language.
Human studies.
Studies published from 2000 on.
Clearly defined cut-off value for the serology test. If more than one test was evaluated, only those tests for which a cut-off was provided were included.
Description of small bowel biopsy procedure clearly outlined (location, number of biopsies per patient), unless if specified that celiac disease diagnosis guidelines were followed.
Patients in the treatment group had untreated CD.
Studies on screening of the general asymptomatic population.
Studies that evaluated rapid diagnostic kits for use either at home or in physician’s offices.
Studies that evaluated diagnostic modalities other than serologic tests such as capsule endoscopy, push enteroscopy, or genetic testing.
Cut-off for serologic tests defined based on controls included in the study.
Study population defined based on positive serology or subjects pre-screened by serology tests.
Celiac disease status known before study enrolment.
Sensitivity or specificity estimates based on repeated testing for the same subject.
Non-peer-reviewed literature such as editorials and letters to the editor.
The population consisted of adults and children with untreated, undiagnosed celiac disease with symptoms consistent with the disease.
Serologic Celiac Disease Tests Evaluated
Anti-gliadin antibody (AGA)
Anti-endomysial antibody (EMA)
Anti-tissue transglutaminase antibody (tTG)
Anti-deamidated gliadin peptides antibody (DGP)
Combinations of some of the serologic tests listed above were evaluated in some studies
Both IgA and IgG antibodies were evaluated for the serologic tests listed above.
Outcomes of Interest
Positive and negative likelihood ratios
Diagnostic odds ratio (OR)
Area under the sROC curve (AUC)
Small bowel biopsy was used as the gold standard in order to estimate the sensitivity and specificity of each serologic test.
Statistical Analysis
Pooled estimates of sensitivity, specificity and diagnostic odds ratios (DORs) for the different serologic tests were calculated using a bivariate, binomial generalized linear mixed model. Statistical significance for differences in sensitivity and specificity between serologic tests was defined by P values less than 0.05, where “false discovery rate” adjustments were made for multiple hypothesis testing. The bivariate regression analyses were performed using SAS version 9.2 (SAS Institute Inc.; Cary, NC, USA). Using the bivariate model parameters, summary receiver operating characteristic (sROC) curves were produced using Review Manager 5.0.22 (The Nordiac Cochrane Centre, The Cochrane Collaboration, 2008). The area under the sROC curve (AUC) was estimated by bivariate mixed-efects binary regression modeling framework. Model specification, estimation and prediction are carried out with xtmelogit in Stata release 10 (Statacorp, 2007). Statistical tests for the differences in AUC estimates could not be carried out.
The study results were stratified according to patient or disease characteristics such as age, severity of Marsh grade abnormalities, among others, if reported in the studies. The literature indicates that the diagnostic accuracy of serologic tests for celiac disease may be affected in patients with chronic liver disease, therefore, the studies identified through the systematic literature review that evaluated the diagnostic accuracy of serologic tests for celiac disease in patients with chronic liver disease were summarized. The effect of the GFD in patiens diagnosed with celiac disease was also summarized if reported in the studies eligible for the analysis.
Summary of Findings
Published Systematic Reviews
Five systematic reviews of studies that evaluated the diagnostic accuracy of serologic celiac disease tests were identified through our literature search. Seventeen individual studies identified in adults and children were eligible for this evaluation.
In general, the studies included evaluated the sensitivity and specificity of at least one serologic test in subjects with symptoms consistent with celiac disease. The gold standard used to confirm the celiac disease diagnosis was small bowel biopsy. Serologic tests evaluated included tTG, EMA, AGA, and DGP, using either IgA or IgG antibodies. Indirect immunoflurorescence was used for the EMA serologic tests whereas enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was used for the other serologic tests.
Common symptoms described in the studies were chronic diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, unexplained weight loss, unexplained anemia, and dermatitis herpetiformis.
The main conclusions of the published systematic reviews are summarized below.
IgA tTG and/or IgA EMA have a high accuracy (pooled sensitivity: 90% to 98%, pooled specificity: 95% to 99% depending on the pooled analysis).
Most reviews found that AGA (IgA or IgG) are not as accurate as IgA tTG and/or EMA tests.
A 2009 systematic review concluded that DGP (IgA or IgG) seems to have a similar accuracy compared to tTG, however, since only 2 studies identified evaluated its accuracy, the authors believe that additional data is required to draw firm conclusions.
Two systematic reviews also concluded that combining two serologic celiac disease tests has little contribution to the accuracy of the diagnosis.
MAS Analysis
The pooled analysis performed by MAS showed that IgA tTG has a sensitivity of 92.1% [95% confidence interval (CI) 88.0, 96.3], compared to 89.2% (83.3, 95.1, p=0.12) for IgA DGP, 85.1% (79.5, 94.4, p=0.07) for IgA EMA, and 74.9% (63.6, 86.2, p=0.0003) for IgA AGA. Among the IgG-based tests, the results suggest that IgG DGP has a sensitivity of 88.4% (95% CI: 82.1, 94.6), 44.7% (30.3, 59.2) for tTG, and 69.1% (56.0, 82.2) for AGA. The difference was significant when IgG DGP was compared to IgG tTG but not IgG AGA. Combining serologic celiac disease tests yielded a slightly higher sensitivity compared to individual IgA-based serologic tests.
IgA deficiency
The prevalence of total or severe IgA deficiency was low in the studies identified varying between 0 and 1.7% as reported in 3 studies in which IgA deficiency was not used as a referral indication for celiac disease serologic testing. The results of IgG-based serologic tests were positive in all patients with IgA deficiency in which celiac disease was confirmed by small bowel biopsy as reported in four studies.
The MAS pooled analysis indicates a high specificity across the different serologic tests including the combination strategy, pooled estimates ranged from 90.1% to 98.7% depending on the test.
Likelihood Ratios
According to the likelihood ratio estimates, both IgA tTG and serologic test combinationa were considered very useful tests (positive likelihood ratio above ten and the negative likelihood ratio below 0.1).
Moderately useful tests included IgA EMA, IgA DGP, and IgG DGP (positive likelihood ratio between five and ten and the negative likelihood ratio between 0.1 and 0.2).
Somewhat useful tests: IgA AGA, IgG AGA, generating small but sometimes important changes from pre- to post-test probability (positive LR between 2 and 5 and negative LR between 0.2 and 0.5)
Not Useful: IgG tTG, altering pre- to post-test probability to a small and rarely important degree (positive LR between 1 and 2 and negative LR between 0.5 and 1).
Diagnostic Odds Ratios (DOR)
Among the individual serologic tests, IgA tTG had the highest DOR, 136.5 (95% CI: 51.9, 221.2). The statistical significance of the difference in DORs among tests was not calculated, however, considering the wide confidence intervals obtained, the differences may not be statistically significant.
Area Under the sROC Curve (AUC)
The sROC AUCs obtained ranged between 0.93 and 0.99 for most IgA-based tests with the exception of IgA AGA, with an AUC of 0.89.
Sensitivity and Specificity of Serologic Tests According to Age Groups
Serologic test accuracy did not seem to vary according to age (adults or children).
Sensitivity and Specificity of Serologic Tests According to Marsh Criteria
Four studies observed a trend towards a higher sensitivity of serologic celiac disease tests when Marsh 3c grade abnormalities were found in the small bowel biopsy compared to Marsh 3a or 3b (statistical significance not reported). The sensitivity of serologic tests was much lower when Marsh 1 grade abnormalities were found in small bowel biopsy compared to Marsh 3 grade abnormalities. The statistical significance of these findings were not reported in the studies.
Diagnostic Accuracy of Serologic Celiac Disease Tests in Subjects with Chronic Liver Disease
A total of 14 observational studies that evaluated the specificity of serologic celiac disease tests in subjects with chronic liver disease were identified. All studies evaluated the frequency of false positive results (1-specificity) of IgA tTG, however, IgA tTG test kits using different substrates were used, i.e., human recombinant, human, and guinea-pig substrates. The gold standard, small bowel biopsy, was used to confirm the result of the serologic tests in only 5 studies. The studies do not seem to have been designed or powered to compare the diagnostic accuracy among different serologic celiac disease tests.
The results of the studies identified in the systematic literature review suggest that there is a trend towards a lower frequency of false positive results if the IgA tTG test using human recombinant substrate is used compared to the guinea pig substrate in subjects with chronic liver disease. However, the statistical significance of the difference was not reported in the studies. When IgA tTG with human recombinant substrate was used, the number of false positives seems to be similar to what was estimated in the MAS pooled analysis for IgA-based serologic tests in a general population of patients. These results should be interpreted with caution since most studies did not use the gold standard, small bowel biopsy, to confirm or exclude the diagnosis of celiac disease, and since the studies were not designed to compare the diagnostic accuracy among different serologic tests. The sensitivity of the different serologic tests in patients with chronic liver disease was not evaluated in the studies identified.
Effects of a Gluten-Free Diet (GFD) in Patients Diagnosed with Celiac Disease
Six studies identified evaluated the effects of GFD on clinical, histological, or serologic improvement in patients diagnosed with celiac disease. Improvement was observed in 51% to 95% of the patients included in the studies.
Grading of Evidence
Overall, the quality of the evidence ranged from moderate to very low depending on the serologic celiac disease test. Reasons to downgrade the quality of the evidence included the use of a surrogate endpoint (diagnostic accuracy) since none of the studies evaluated clinical outcomes, inconsistencies among study results, imprecise estimates, and sparse data. The quality of the evidence was considered moderate for IgA tTg and IgA EMA, low for IgA DGP, and serologic test combinations, and very low for IgA AGA.
Clinical Validity and Clinical Utility of Serologic Testing in the Diagnosis of Celiac Disease
The clinical validity of serologic tests in the diagnosis of celiac disease was considered high in subjects with symptoms consistent with this disease due to
High accuracy of some serologic tests.
Serologic tests detect possible celiac disease cases and avoid unnecessary small bowel biopsy if the test result is negative, unless an endoscopy/ small bowel biopsy is necessary due to the clinical presentation.
Serologic tests support the results of small bowel biopsy.
The clinical utility of serologic tests for the diagnosis of celiac disease, as defined by its impact in decision making was also considered high in subjects with symptoms consistent with this disease given the considerations listed above and since celiac disease diagnosis leads to treatment with a gluten-free diet.
Economic Analysis
A decision analysis was constructed to compare costs and outcomes between the tests based on the sensitivity, specificity and prevalence summary estimates from the MAS Evidence-Based Analysis (EBA). A budget impact was then calculated by multiplying the expected costs and volumes in Ontario. The outcome of the analysis was expected costs and false negatives (FN). Costs were reported in 2010 CAD$. All analyses were performed using TreeAge Pro Suite 2009.
Four strategies made up the efficiency frontier; IgG tTG, IgA tTG, EMA and small bowel biopsy. All other strategies were dominated. IgG tTG was the least costly and least effective strategy ($178.95, FN avoided=0). Small bowel biopsy was the most costly and most effective strategy ($396.60, FN avoided =0.1553). The cost per FN avoided were $293, $369, $1,401 for EMA, IgATTG and small bowel biopsy respectively. One-way sensitivity analyses did not change the ranking of strategies.
All testing strategies with small bowel biopsy are cheaper than biopsy alone however they also result in more FNs. The most cost-effective strategy will depend on the decision makers’ willingness to pay. Findings suggest that IgA tTG was the most cost-effective and feasible strategy based on its Incremental Cost-Effectiveness Ratio (ICER) and convenience to conduct the test. The potential impact of IgA tTG test in the province of Ontario would be $10.4M, $11.0M and $11.7M respectively in the following three years based on past volumes and trends in the province and basecase expected costs.
The panel of tests is the commonly used strategy in the province of Ontario therefore the impact to the system would be $13.6M, $14.5M and $15.3M respectively in the next three years based on past volumes and trends in the province and basecase expected costs.
The clinical validity and clinical utility of serologic tests for celiac disease was considered high in subjects with symptoms consistent with this disease as they aid in the diagnosis of celiac disease and some tests present a high accuracy.
The study findings suggest that IgA tTG is the most accurate and the most cost-effective test.
AGA test (IgA) has a lower accuracy compared to other IgA-based tests
Serologic test combinations appear to be more costly with little gain in accuracy. In addition there may be problems with generalizability of the results of the studies included in this review if different test combinations are used in clinical practice.
IgA deficiency seems to be uncommon in patients diagnosed with celiac disease.
The generalizability of study results is contingent on performing both the serologic test and small bowel biopsy in subjects on a gluten-containing diet as was the case in the studies identified, since the avoidance of gluten may affect test results.
PMCID: PMC3377499  PMID: 23074399
22.  Development of Recombinant Chimeric Antigen Expressing Immunodominant B Epitopes of Leishmania infantum for Serodiagnosis of Visceral Leishmaniasis 
Wild canids and domestic dogs are the main reservoir of zoonotic visceral leishmaniasis (VL) caused by Leishmania infantum (syn.: Leishmania chagasi). Serological diagnosis of VL is therefore important in both human and dog leishmaniasis from a clinical and epidemiological point of view. Routine diagnosis of VL is traditionally carried out by immunofluorescent antibody test (IFAT), which is laborious and difficult to standardize and to interpret. In the last decade, however, several specific antigens of Leishmania infantum have been characterized, allowing the development of a recombinant-based immunoassay. Among them, the whole open reading frame encoding K9 antigen, the gene fragment encoding the repetitive sequence of K26, and the 3′-terminal gene fragment of the kinesin-related protein (K39sub) were previously evaluated as diagnostic markers for canine leishmaniasis and proved to be independent in their antibody reactivity. Since sensitivity of serological test is usually higher in multiple-epitope format, in this study the relevant epitopes of K9, K26, and K39 antigens were joined by PCR strategy to produce the chimeric recombinant protein. The resulting mosaic antigen was found highly expressed in Escherichia coli and efficiently purified by affinity chromatography. Antigenic properties of this recombinant antigen were evaluated by indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) using a panel of human and dog sera previously characterized by parasitological and/or serological techniques. Chimeric ELISA showed 99% specificity in both human (n = 180) and canine (n = 343) control groups, while sensitivity was higher in canine VL (96%, n = 213) than in human VL (82%, n = 185). Accordingly, concordance between IFAT and canine chimeric ELISA (k = 0.95, 95% confidence interval = 0.93 to 0.98) was higher than between IFAT and human chimeric ELISA (k = 0.81, 95% confidence interval = 0.76 to 0.87). Results suggest the potential use of this new antigen for routine serodiagnosis of VL in both human and canine hosts.
PMCID: PMC1112073  PMID: 15879027
23.  Recombinant Leishmania infantum Heat Shock Protein 83 for the Serodiagnosis of Cutaneous, Mucosal, and Visceral Leishmaniases 
Routine serological diagnoses for leishmaniases, except in visceral cases, are performed using whole-parasite antigens. We used enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to evaluate the performance of Leishmania infantum rHsp83 compared with L. major-like total promastigote antigen in the diagnosis of cutaneous (CL), mucosal (ML), and visceral leishmaniases (VL). ELISA-rHsp83 was significantly more sensitive than ELISA–L. major-like when considering either CL/ML (P = 0.041) or all leishmaniasis patients (P = 0.013). When samples from other infectious disease patients were evaluated for cross-reactivity, ELISA-rHsp83 was more specific than ELISA–L. major-like, specifically for Chagas disease samples (P < 0.001). We also evaluated the anti-rHsp83 antibody titers months after treatment and observed no significant difference in ML (P = 0.607) or CL (P = 0.205). We recommend ELISA–L. infantum-rHsp83 as a routine confirmatory serological assay for the diagnosis of Leishmania infection because of the high sensitivity, the specificity, and the insignificant cross-reactivity with other infectious diseases.
PMCID: PMC4015579  PMID: 24615136
24.  Comparison of Two Recombinant Major Outer Membrane Proteins of the Human Granulocytic Ehrlichiosis Agent for Use in an Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay 
Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for human granulocytic ehrlichiosis (HGE) using two different recombinant P44 proteins (rP44 and rP44-2hv) of the HGE agent as antigens was evaluated. Sera from a total of 72 healthy humans both from regions where HGE is nonendemic and regions where HGE is endemic were used as negative controls to determine the cutoff value for ELISA. Sera from a total of 14 patients (nine from whom the HGE agent was isolated and five who were HGE-PCR positive) were used as positive controls. One hundred nine sera from 72 patients in an area where HGE is endemic who were suspected of having HGE were examined by ELISA and indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA). All IFA-negative sera were negative by both ELISAs. Of 39 sera that were IFA positive, 35 and 27 were positive by ELISA using rP44 and rP44-2hv, respectively, indicating that the use of rP44 is more sensitive. Western blot analysis of the four rP44-ELISA-negative IFA-positive sera using whole HGE agent as antigen suggests that these four sera were false IFA positive. There was no difference in results with or without the preabsorption of sera with Escherichia coli or with or without the cleavage of the fused protein derived from the vector. There was a significant positive correlation between IFA titers and optical densities of ELISAs. Four Ehrlichia chaffeensis-positive and 10 Borrelia burgdorferi-positive sera were negative by ELISA. However, two Babesia microti-positive sera showed strong cross-reactivity to the fused vector protein, which was eliminated after cleavage of the protein. Thus, ELISA using rP44 nonfusion protein would provide a simple, specific, and objective HGE serologic test which can be easily automated.
PMCID: PMC95929  PMID: 10882667
25.  Efficacy of Several Serological Tests and Antigens for Diagnosis of Bovine Brucellosis in the Presence of False-Positive Serological Results Due to Yersinia enterocolitica O:9 
Yersinia enterocolitica O:9 bears a smooth lipopolysaccharide (S-LPS) of Brucella sp. O-chain A + C/Y epitopic structure and is a cause of false-positive serological reactions (FPSR) in standard tests for cattle brucellosis. Brucella S-LPS, cross-reacting S-LPSs representing several O-chain epitope combinations, Brucella core lipid A epitopes (rough LPS), Brucella abortus S-LPS-derived polysaccharide, native hapten polysaccharide, rough LPS group 3 outer membrane protein complexes, recombinant BP26, and cytosolic proteins were tested in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) and precipitation tests to detect cattle brucellosis (sensitivity) and to differentiate it from FPSR (specificity). No single serological test and antigen combination showed 100% sensitivity and specificity simultaneously. Immunoprecipitation tests with native hapten polysaccharide, counterimmunoelectrophoresis with cytosolic proteins, and a chaotropic ELISA with Brucella S-LPS were 100% specific but less sensitive than the Rose Bengal test, complement fixation, and indirect ELISA with Brucella S-LPSs and native hapten or S-LPS-derived polysaccharides. A competitive ELISA with Brucella S-LPS and M84 C/Y-specific monoclonal antibody was not 100% specific and was less sensitive than other tests. ELISA with Brucella suis bv. 2 S-LPS (deficient in C epitopes), Escherichia hermannii S-LPSs [lacking the contiguous α-(1-2)-linked perosamine residues characteristic of Y. enterocolitica S-LPS], BP26 recombinant protein, and Brucella cytosolic fractions did not provide adequate sensitivity/specificity ratios. Although no serological test and antigen combination fully resolved the diagnosis of bovine brucellosis in the presence of FPSR, some are simple and practical alternatives to the brucellin skin test currently recommended for differential diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC540215  PMID: 15642999

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