Circulating parasite antigen in patients with hydrocephalus secondary to neurocysticercosis.

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  • 1 Department of Microbiology, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima.

End stages of neurocysticercosis include residual intraparenchymal brain calcifications and hydrocephalus. Although brain calcifications alone have a benign prognosis, hydrocephalus is frequently associated with chronic inflammation and intracranial hypertension, together with a protracted clinical evolution, and may lead to patient deaths. By using a monoclonal-based antigen detection enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, we measured the levels of circulating parasite antigen in the sera of 56 patients with neurocysticercosis: 27 with calcifications only and 29 with hydrocephalus. The assay gave positive results in 14 of 29 patients with hydrocephalus but was consistently negative in patients with calcifications. Circulating parasite antigen in hydrocephalus secondary to neurocysticercosis indicates the presence of live parasites in these patients and thus a potential benefit from antiparasitic therapy.