Histoplasmosis is an important systemic fungal infection, particularly among immunocompromised individuals, who may develop a progressive disseminated form which is often fatal if it is untreated. In such patients, the detection of antibody responses for both diagnosis and follow-up may be of limited use, whereas the detection of Histoplasma capsulatum var. capsulatum antigens may provide a more practical approach. We have recently described an inhibition enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for the detection in patients' sera of a 69- to 70-kDa H. capsulatum var. capsulatum- specific antigen which appears to be useful in diagnosis. To investigate its potential for the follow-up of histoplasmosis patients during treatment, antigen titers in the sera of 16 patients presenting with different clinical forms of histoplasmosis were monitored at regular intervals for up to 80 weeks. Sera from four of five patients with the acute form of the disease showed rapid falls in antigenemia, becoming antigen negative by week 14 (range, weeks 10 to 16). Sera from four patients with disseminated histoplasmosis showed falls in antigen levels; three of them became antigen negative by week 32; the fourth patient became negative by week 48. In contrast, antigen titers in four of six AIDS patients with the disseminated form of the disease remained positive throughout follow-up. Sera from only one patient who presented with the chronic form of the disease were analyzed, and this individual's serum became antigen negative by week 9. The inhibition ELISA is shown to be of particular use in the monitoring of non-AIDS patients with the acute and disseminated forms of the disease and may complement existing means of follow-up.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Microbiology (medical)