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Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2008 Mar 15;122(1-2):46-56. Epub 2007 Dec 3.

Monoclonal antibodies to equine IgM improve the sensitivity of West Nile virus-specific IgM detection in horses.

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Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


West Nile virus (WNV) is a zoonotic pathogen of global importance. In horses with neurological signs, detection of WNV-specific immunoglobulin M (IgM) in serum is widely used to identify clinical cases of WNV encephalitis. Here, we describe the development of two monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to equine IgM which were used in a WNV IgM-specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Their performance was compared to an established assay based on polyclonal anti-IgM. Check test serum samples from the National Veterinary Service Laboratory (NVSL) were used to evaluate the performance of the three anti-IgM antibodies. The anti-IgM 1-22 mAb correctly identified all NVSL samples. Both the polyclonal antibody and monoclonal anti-IgM 2B-63 identified eight out of ten samples correctly. The three assays were then compared using serum samples from clinically healthy animals (n=33) and horses with neurological signs (n=21). High Spearman rank correlations (0.76-0.86) were found among the ELISA results. Inter-test agreements (weighted kappa) for assay interpretation resulted in strong agreement (0.95) of the results obtained by the mAbs and moderate agreements when monoclonal and polyclonal anti-IgM-based assays were compared. To determine the analytical sensitivities of anti-WNV IgM detection, serial dilutions of WNV IgM-positive serum samples were analyzed. The highest sensitivity was obtained by using the anti-IgM 1-22 mAb to capture IgM from equine serum. In conclusion, the use of monoclonal anti-IgM antibodies can improve the sensitivity of IgM detection in the acute phase of WN disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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