Human African Trypanosomiasis: Presence of Antibodies to Galactocerebrosides

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  • Institute of Tropical Neurology, Faculty of Medicine, Project of Clinical Search of Trypanosomiasis, Limogens, France

Improvements were made in the immunodetection of anti-galactocerebroside (anti-GalC) antibody in sera of patients with human African trypanosomiasis by thin-layer chromatography, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and immunoadsorption. Rabbit anti-GalC antibodies were used to standardize these techniques and demonstrate their specificity. Anti-GalC antibodies were found in the sera of 42.8% of 63 patients with human African trypanosomiasis. Thirty-four control subjects living in the same endemic area were also tested. Anti-GalC levels were higher in human African trypanosomiasis patients with neurologic disturbances compared with patients without such disturbances. These antibodies were distributed mainly between the IgG and IgM classes, but 28% of the patients with human African trypanosomiasis had increased IgA levels without anti-GalC antibody activity.