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Evaluation of Leishmania Species Reactivity in Human Serologic Diagnosis of Leishmaniasis

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  • 1 Parasite Disease Group, IBMC—Instituto de Biologia Molecular e Celular, Universidade do Porto, Portugal; Departamento de Bioquímica, Faculdade de Farmácia, Universidade do Porto, Portugal; KIT (Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen/Royal Tropical Institute), KIT Biomedical Research, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The sensitivities and specificities of IgG-ELISA and IgG flow cytometry based techniques using different Leishmania species were determined using sera collected from 40 cutaneous or visceral leishmaniasis patients. The flow cytometry technique, using promastigote parasite forms, performed better than total soluble extract IgG-ELISA. At the species level, the use of Leishmania amazonensis and Leishmania major as antigens in enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) decreased the overall sensitivity. To assess the specificity of these tests, sera from malaria, toxoplasmosis, amoebiasis, schistosomiasis, and leprosy patients were used. We also included sera from Leishmania non-infected endemic individuals. The cutaneous species displayed a decreased specificity in both assays. Although more sensitive, flow cytometry using promastigote parasite forms generally presented lower levels of specificity when compared with total extract of IgG-ELISA. Overall, the results of the study show the potential of IgG flow cytometry for the diagnosis of leishmaniasis. Although highly sensitive, a refinement of the flow cytometry method should be performed to improve the overall specificity.

Author Notes

Reprint requests: Anabela Cordeiro-da-Silva, Parasite Disease Group, Biology of Infection and Immunology, Instituto de Biologia Molecular e Celular da Universidade do Porto, Rua do Campo Alegre, 823, 4150-180 Porto, Portugal, E-mail: cordeiro@ibmc.up.pt .
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