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J Clin Microbiol. 2005 May;43(5):2277-85.

Evaluation of 12 commercial tests and the complement fixation test for Mycoplasma pneumoniae-specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) and IgM antibodies, with PCR used as the "gold standard".

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  • 1Department of Medical Microbiology, Center of Infectious Diseases, Leiden University Medical Center, P.O. Box 9600, 2300 RC Leiden, The Netherlands.


Serology and nucleic acid amplification are the main diagnostic tools for the diagnosis of Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection. Since no reference standard is generally accepted, serologic assays for M. pneumoniae have not been evaluated on a broad scale. In this study, 12 commercially available serologic assays (for immunoglobulin G [IgG] and IgM) and the complement fixation test (CFT) were evaluated by using M. pneumoniae DNA detection by real-time PCR as the "gold standard." The assays tested were Platelia EIA (Bio-Rad), SeroMP EIA (Savyon), Serion classic EIA (Virion/Serion), Biotest EIA (Biotest), Ridascreen EIA (r-Biopharm), AniLabsystems EIA (Labsystems), Novum EIA (Novum Diagnostica), Diagnosys EIA (MP products), Genzyme/Virotech EIA, ImmunoWell EIA (Genbio), ImmunoCard EIA (Meridian), and SerodiaMycoII microparticle agglutination (Fujirebio). Serum samples (n = 46) from 27 PCR-positive patients with a known first day of disease and sera (n = 33) from PCR-negative controls were obtained from prospective studies of acute lower respiratory tract infections. Additionally, control sera (n = 63) from patients with acute viral or bacterial respiratory infections other than those caused by M. pneumoniae were tested. The results showed low specificities for both the Novum and the ImmunoCard IgM assays. The IgM assays with the best performances in terms of sensitivity and specificity were AniLabsystems (77% and 92%, respectively), SeroMP (71% and 88%, respectively), and CFT (65% and 97%, respectively). Good receiver operating characteristic areas under the curve were found for CFT (0.94), the Platelia assay (0.87), and the AniLabsystems assay (0.85). We conclude that there are few commercial serologic assays for the detection of M. pneumoniae infections with appropriate performances in terms of sensitivity and specificity and that PCR has become increasingly important for the diagnosis of M. pneumoniae infections in defined groups of patients.

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