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J Clin Microbiol. Jun 1993; 31(6): 1403–1407.
PMCID: PMC265551

Serologic reactivity to purified recombinant and native 29-kilodalton peripheral membrane protein of pathogenic Entamoeba histolytica.


The 29-kDa peripheral membrane protein of Entamoeba histolytica has recently been demonstrated to have epitopes on pathogenic clinical isolates which were not detected by monoclonal antibodies on nonpathogenic isolates. To analyze the serological response to this protein, we tested 93 serum specimens (from 33 patients with amebic liver abscess, 7 patients with colitis, 2 patients with ameboma, 18 individuals harboring a nonpathogenic zymodeme strain, 10 healthy Mexican migrant workers, and 23 healthy controls) by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) using immunoaffinity-purified native or recombinant protein. When tested by ELISA with the native antigen, 79% (26 of 33) of the serum specimens from patients with amebic liver abscess, 4 of 9 serum specimens from symptomatic patients with colitis or ameboma, and serum from one migrant worker were positive. None of the 18 subjects harboring a nonpathogenic strain or 23 control individuals were seropositive to the native antigen (sensitivity, 71%; specificity, 98%). Of 30 serum specimens from patients with amebic liver abscess tested with recombinant antigen, 27 were seropositive (90%). In addition, six patients with colitis or ameboma and two individuals who harbored a nonpathogenic strain were seropositive to the recombinant antigen. One healthy Mexican migrant worker tested positive by both ELISAs (sensitivity, 87%; specificity, 94%). Immunoblotting of 51 serum specimens to sodium dodecyl sulfate-denatured native 29-kDa protein was less sensitive (65%) than ELISA in detecting serum antibodies to the antigen. These results suggest a similar antibody response to native and recombinant antigens (r = 0.86) and support the potential utility of a quantitative assay with defined recombinant antigen for the serodiagnosis of invasive amebiasis in nonendemic areas in conjunction with other diagnostic tools.

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