Detection of filarial antigen in circulating immune complexes from patient sera was performed by an enzyme immunoassay in which the immune complexes were precipitated in the cold with polyethylene glycol and then dissociated in an acid pH buffer before being added to an ELISA plate. The dissociated antigen bound to the plate where it could be detected by peroxidase-labeled polyclonal rabbit antifilarial antiserum.
Control sera used for defining the specificity of the assay included sera with immune complexes not related to parasite infection with and without free parasite antigen added prior to polyethylene glycol precipitation as well as sera from normal individuals. Filarial antigen was detected in the circulating immune complexes from 10 of 28 patients with bancroftian filariasis residing in either the Cook Islands (subperiodic Wuchereria bancrofti) or India (periodic W. bancrofti). By immunoblotting, the most frequently identified filarial antigen in these complexes was an ≈200 kDa circulating antigen.