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J Vet Diagn Invest. 2005 Sep;17(5):442-50.

Use of avidity enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and avidity Western blot to discriminate between acute and chronic Neospora caninum infection in cattle.

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Departamento de Sanidad Animal, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain.


Avidity serological tests (avidity enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay [ELISA] and avidity Western blot) were developed and used to differentiate between acute (primary infection, reinfection, and recrudescence) and chronic Neospora caninum infection in cattle. In addition, the pattern of immunoglobulin G (IgG) avidity maturation against different specific antigens of N. caninum tachyzoites was studied. Sequential serum samples were collected from cattle naturally and experimentally infected with N. caninum. Four groups of experimentally infected cattle were included in the study and were representative of primary infection, reinfection, chronic infection, and noninfection. Serum samples were also collected from naturally infected cattle classified into nonaborting and aborting cows on the basis of clinical findings and serological profiles, and a third group composed of seronegative cows that seroconverted during the course of the experiment. All samples were tested by avidity ELISA and avidity Western blot. The IgG avidity ELISA allowed the discrimination between primary and chronic infection because all experimentally primary-infection cows showed low avidity indexes at week 4 postinfection (p.i.) compared with the high avidity values found at week 20 postinfection. However, this test did not allow the discrimination of reinfection or recrudescence from chronic infection. Regarding IgG avidity Western blot results, no antigenic markers correlating with acute (primary infection, recrudescence, and reinfection) or chronic infection were recognized. However, the 17-kD immunodominant antigen was mostly responsible for high avidity values obtained by avidity ELISA because it was intensively recognized by high-avidity antibodies in all chronically infected animals after urea treatment.

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