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Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2006 Nov;25(11):687-93.

Delayed maturation of immunoglobulin G avidity: implication for the diagnosis of toxoplasmosis in pregnant women.

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Département de Parasitologie, Hôpital de la Croix Rousse, 69317, Lyon Cedex 04, France.


The low avidity of immunoglobulin G has been reported to be a useful marker of recent infection with Toxoplasma. Several investigators, however, have published discrepant result on the maturation of avidity over time. The aim of this study was to analyse persistent low avidity of immunoglobulin G in immunocompetent individuals and in pregnant women and how it could interfere in the flowchart of antenatal diagnosis of toxoplasmosis in the latter group. An international literature search was conducted together with a retrospective study of a hospital database. Eleven publications that met the inclusion criteria reported delayed maturation of avidity at a frequency ranging from 0 to 66.6% of the patients. Examination of those publications demonstrated an important heterogeneity in the type of assay used, the calculation of avidity, the cutoff above which avidity was considered to be elevated, and the delay since infection after which indices are expected to be high. In the hospital database, persistent low avidity was found even after a median follow-up period of 6 years. Different factors could interfere with maturation of avidity, such as variations between individuals, the assay system used, and, possibly, the treatment administered. The results of this study clearly demonstrate that, in a pregnant woman, an acute infection cannot be reliably diagnosed solely on the basis of low avidity of immunoglobulin G. Further investigations and standardization of assays are urgently needed. Estimation of the time of infection remains difficult, especially in cases in which the samples are drawn late in pregnancy; the final estimate must be based on several tests repeated at intervals of weeks.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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