The precise diagnosis of paracoccidioidomycosis, in most cases, is established by direct methods and indirect immunological tests. The latter method is reliant on the identification of the host's humoral responses, which are usually impaired or absent in patients with severe juvenile forms of the disease and in immunocompromised patients. Determining disease activity or assessing treatment responses by measuring antibody levels is difficult, since antibody titer may remain elevated or persist at stationary levels, even in the presence of clinical improvement. Consequently, there is a need for alternative tests aimed at the identification of circulating antigens. A modification of the standard hybridoma production method was used to raise a panel of murine monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) against the yeast form of Paracoccidioides brasiliensis. Of these, MAb P1B, directed against an 87-kDa determinant, was used to develop an inhibition ELISA (inh-ELISA) capable of detecting as little as 5.8 ng of circulating antigen per ml of serum. Sera from 46 patients with paracoccidioidomycosis or other mycoses and sera from healthy individuals were evaluated by the inh-ELISA; overall sensitivity was 80.4% (37 of 46 paracoccidioidomycosis patients tested positive), and specificity compared with that of normal controls from areas of endemicity was 81.4%. The inh-ELISA detected circulating antigen in 100% of patients with the acute form of paracoccidioidomycosis and in 83.3 and 60% of patients with the chronic multifocal and unifocal forms of paracoccidioidomycosis according to the patients' clinical presentation. These results indicate that the inh-ELISA with MAb P1B is effective in the detection of circulating antigen and that this test may be useful for monitoring responses to treatment and establishing disease prognoses.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Microbiology (medical)