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Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis. 2001 Jan;39(1):9-14.

Treponema pallidum western blot: comparison with the FTA-ABS test as a confirmatory test for syphilis.

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Centre for Infectious Diseases and Microbiology Laboratory Services, Institute of Clinical Pathology and Medical Research (ICPMR), NSW 2145, Westmead, Australia.


We developed a Treponema pallidum Western blot and compared the results with Treponema pallidum particle agglutination (TPPA) and fluorescent treponemal antibody absorption (FTA-ABS) tests. The Western blot was deemed reactive if the serum reacted with at least three major antigenic bands (TpN47, TpN44.5, TpN17, TpN15). The sensitivities of the Western blot, TPPA and FTA-ABS, were all 100% and the specificities of the Western blot, TPPA and FTA-ABS were 100%, 100% and 94.5% respectively. In 52 problem sera, reactive in only one treponemal test, the agreement between the Western blot and TPPA (61.5%) was significantly better than between Western blot and FTA-ABS (38.5%). The individual sensitivities and specificities of TpN47, TpN44.5, TpN17, TpN15 were 100%, 100%, 96%, 100% and 20%, 96%, 100%, 100% respectively. We conclude that the Western blot is a useful additional confirmatory test or alternative to the FTA-ABS and that a more sensitive and specific criterion for the Western blot would be reactivity with TpN15 and two of the three other major antigens.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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