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Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2000 Sep;7(5):778-80.

Analysis of complement fixation and commercial enzyme immunoassays for detection of antibodies to Mycoplasma pneumoniae in human serum.

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Division of Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, USA.


The Meridian ImmunoCard (IC), GenBio ImmunoWELL-IgM, and Remel EIA commercial antibody tests are qualitative enzyme immunoassays that detect antibodies to Mycoplasma pneumoniae in serum. These tests were compared to an M. pneumoniae complement fixation (CF) assay, which uses a commercially available antigen component. The Meridian IC and the ImmunoWELL-IgM detect immunoglobulin M (IgM) only; the Remel EIA and the CF test detect both IgM and IgG antibodies. Detection of specific IgM antibody, which appears early in infection, can be, but is not always, indicative of a recent or current infection. Paired serum samples from 64 adult patients with probable M. pneumoniae infection were examined with each of the four tests. Thirty (47%) of the 64 acute-phase sera were IgM positive by Meridian IC, 26 (41%) were positive by Remel EIA, 24 (38%) were positive by CF, and 15 (23%) were positive by ImmunoWELL-IgM. When both the acute- and convalescent-phase serum samples from each patient were examined, 61 (95%) of the 64 patients were positive by CF, 60 patients (94%) were positive by Remel EIA, 52 patients (81%) were IgM positive by the Meridian IC, and 29 patients (45%) were IgM positive by the ImmunoWELL-IgM assay. The Meridian IC was more sensitive than the other tests for early detection of IgM antibodies. However, after examining paired serum samples, we concluded that the detection of IgM alone may not be useful for all cases of mycoplasma infection, especially in an adult population.

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