Immunoglobulin G subclass antibodies against excretory/secretory antigens of Ancylostoma caninum in human enteric infections

  • Loukas A
  • Opdebeeck J
  • Croese J
 et al. 
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Most patients with proven or suspected enteric infection with the common hookworm of dogs, Ancylostoma caninum, produce immunoglobulin G (IgG) and IgE antibodies to an immunodominant excretory/secretory antigen (Ac68) of the parasite. These antibodies were detected in both enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and Western blots; the Western blot to detect IgG antibodies to Ac68 was the most specific and sensitive. The subclasses of IgG of the antibody response to the parasite were analyzed using Western blots with anti-IgG subclass-specific monoclonal antibodies as marker systems in an attempt to further improve the specificity of the assay. Eight patients with confirmed enteric infections with A. caninum (positive controls) were tested; six had antibodies in all IgG subclasses against Ac68. Twenty sera from patients with suspected enteric infection with A. caninum (manifested as eosinophilic enteritis or unexplained abdominal pain with peripheral eosinophilia) were tested; 16 had total IgG antibodies to Ac68, while IgG1, IgG2, IgG3, and IgG4 responses were found in 11, 10, 9, and 12 of these sera, respectively. Small numbers of sera from groups of patients infected with other helminths and from healthy blood donors had various combinations of IgG, IgG1, IgG2, and IgG3 antibodies to Ac68, but none of these sera had IgG4 antibodies to Ac68. Sera from all nine patients with human hookworm infection had IgG, IgG1, IgG2, and IgG3 antibodies to Ac68 and eight of the nine were also positive for IgG4 antibodies. These results indicate the Western blot to detect IgG4 antibodies to Ac68 is the most reliable immunodiagnostic test yet described for enteric infection with A. caninum, although this test does not discriminate between infections with human and canine hookworms

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