Volume 47, Issue 6
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



When infected with species, patients develop specific antibodies that constitute the basis of serodiagnosis. Using Western blot analysis, we studied the specificity of anti- antibodies in patients with visceral leishmaniasis (including patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome [AIDS]) and in healthy subjects living in an endemic area. Sera from patients with visceral leishmaniasis recognized numerous antigens that had a molecular mass range of 12–120 kD. The 14-, 16-, 28–30-, 46-, and 68-kD antigens were recognized by 92%, 95%, 63%, 80%, 69%, and 89% of the patients' sera, respectively. The 14–16-kD antigens had the greatest specificity for leishmaniasis. The same pattern was found with sera from AIDS patients with proven leishmaniasis, but the 14-kD band was not present in some cases; recognition of the 16-kD band was constant. In these patients, Western blotting characterized specific antibodies even when the results of classic serologic tests (indirect immunofluorescent antibody test and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) were negative. Western blotting was found to be more sensitive than the IFA and ELISA, and it was used to detect antibodies to the 14-, 16-, 22-, and 24-kD antigens in subjects living in an endemic area. The detection of antibodies for the 14-kD and 16-kD antigens would be a valuable tool both in the diagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis and in epidemiologic studies.


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