BACKGROUND: Clinical diagnosis and follow up of cystic echinococcosis (CE) are based on imaging complemented by serology. Several immunodiagnostic tests are commercially available, but the development of new tools is still needed to overcome the lack of standardization of the target antigen, generally consisting of a crude extract of Echinococcus granulosus hydatid cyst fluid. In a previous work, we described a chromatographic method for the preparation of a highly enriched Antigen 5 fraction from hydatid cyst fluid. The high reactivity of patient sera against this preparation prompted us to evaluate further this antigen for the serodiagnosis of CE on a larger cohort of samples.<br /><br />METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A total of 327 sera from CE patients with heterogeneous conditions for cyst stage, cyst number, organ localization, drug therapy, and surgical intervention, together with 253 sera from healthy controls, were first analyzed by an ELISA based on the Ag5 preparation in two different experimental setups and, in parallel, by a commercial ELISA routinely used in clinical laboratories for CE serodiagnosis. The Ag5 ELISAs revealed different sensitivity (88.3% vs 95.3%) without significant differences in specificity (94.1% vs 92.5%), for the two setups, respectively. Moreover, possible relationships between the Ag5 ELISA absorbance results and clinical variables were investigated. Chi squared test, bivariate logistic regression and multiple regression analyses highlighted differences in the serology reactivity according to pharmacological treatment, cyst activity, and cyst number.<br /><br />CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The two Ag5 ELISAs revealed different performances depending on the setup. The good diagnostic sensitivity and the high reliability of the Ag5 preparation method make this antigen a promising candidate for the serodiagnosis of CE. Further studies will be needed to evaluate the ability of our test to provide useful information on specific CE clinical traits.
Pagnozzi, D., Addis, M. F., Biosa, G., Roggio, A. M., Tedde, V., Mariconti, M., … Uzzau, S. (2016). Diagnostic Accuracy of Antigen 5-Based ELISAs for Human Cystic Echinococcosis. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 10(3). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0004585