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J Clin Microbiol. 2003 Aug;41(8):3668-74.

Serodiagnosis of syphilis: antibodies to recombinant Tp0453, Tp92, and Gpd proteins are sensitive and specific indicators of infection by Treponema pallidum.

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  • 1Departments of Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA. wesley@u.washington.edu


Syphilis serodiagnosis relies on a combination of nonspecific screening tests (antilipoidal antibodies) and Treponema pallidum-specific tests (anti-T. pallidum antibodies). We studied a group of six recombinant T. pallidum antigens for their sensitivities and specificities with sera from individuals with syphilis (n = 43), relapsing fever (n = 8), Lyme disease (n = 8), and leptospirosis (n = 9) and from uninfected individuals (n = 15). Three recombinant proteins, Tp0155, Tp0483, and Tp0751, demonstrated sensitivity values that ranged from 28 to 42%. In contrast, three other recombinant proteins exhibited the following sensitivity and specificity values: Tp0453, 100% sensitivity and 100% specificity; Tp92 (Tp0326), 98% sensitivity and 97% specificity; and Gpd (Tp0257), 91% sensitivity and 93% specificity. Tp0453, Tp92, and Gpd also were recognized by sera from individuals with early primary syphilis that were nonreactive with the antilipoidal Venereal Disease Research Laboratory test. The reactivities of syphilis patient sera with Tp0453, Tp92, and Gpd were proportional to the titers of these sera with the treponemal test MHA-TP (microhemagglutination assay for T. pallidum). Thus, the recombinant T. pallidum antigens Tp0453, Tp92, and Gpd show promise as diagnostic antigens in the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay-based assay.

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