Serum IgM antibody response to the galactose-inhibitable adherence lectin of Entameoba histolytica.

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  • 1 Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis 55455, USA.

An ELISA for detection of serum IgM antibodies to the galactose-inhibitable adherence lectin of Entamoeba histolytica revealed that 2.8% of uninfected controls, 0.0% of controls infected with other parasites, 13.4% of asymptomatic amebic infections, 55% of colitis patients, and 77% of amebic liver abscess patients from Cairo, Egypt and Durban, South Africa had serum anti-lectin IgM antibodies. Of acute amebic colitis patients with symptoms for less than one week, only 6% possessed serum IgG anti-lectin antibodies, yet 45% had serum IgM antibodies to the amebic lectin. This compares with 65% of sera in acute colitis patients positive for lectin antigen as determined by ELISA with anti-lectin monoclonal antibodies. In conclusion, an ELISA for serum anti-lectin IgM antibodies appears to have greater clinical utility in the setting of acute amebic colitis than an ELISA for anti-lectin IgG antibodies, but is no more sensitive than an ELISA for detection of lectin antigen in sera.