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J Clin Lab Anal. 2006;20(6):233-8.

Evaluation of the Treponema pallidum particle agglutination technique (TP.PA) in the diagnosis of neurosyphilis.

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Unidade de Doenças Sexualmente Transmitidas/Instituto de Higiene e Medicina Tropical, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal.


The Treponema pallidum particle agglutination technique (TP.PA) was evaluated, in comparison with the Venereal Disease Research Laboratory (VDRL) test, microhemagglutination assay for Treponema pallidum antibodies (MHA-TP), and fluorescent treponemal antibody-ABS (FTA-Abs) test for the diagnosis of neurosyphilis. We have studied 198 cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples from patients with syphilis, including neurosyphilis, treated syphilis, and with other neurological manifestations than neurosyphilis. All tests were nonreactive in these last group of patients. In the neurosyphilis patients, sensitivity of the TP.PA was 100%. The performance of this test in CSF from patients with primary syphilis was as good as that of the other tests. In secondary and latent syphilis, the TP.PA results (27 reactive samples/73) were similar to those of the MHA-TP (25 reactive samples/73). In the individuals treated for syphilis, the TP.PA, FTA-Abs, and MHA-TP tests were found to be reactive in eight, six, and eight samples, respectively. In conclusion, it seems that the TP.PA can be used in CSF to diagnose neurosyphilis, although as for other serological tests, interpretation of results should be done in conjunction with other neurosyphilis parameters.

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