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Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 1989 Sep-Oct;83(5):652-5.

Phosphocholine epitopes on helminth and protozoal parasites and their presence in the circulation of infected human patients.

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Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


Antigens containing phosphocholine (PC) circulate in the blood during chronic filarial infection. Because of the wide occurrence of such PC epitopes, we examined their specificity by evaluating 10 common parasites of humans for the presence of PC epitopes, and sera from patients infected with these parasites for circulating antigens containing PC. Immunoblot analysis of extracts from various parasites using an anti-PC monoclonal antibody (CA101) demonstrated the presence of PC epitopes on the protozoa Leishmania major and Trypanosoma cruzi, and on the helminths Schistosoma mansoni and Strongyloides stercoralis, in addition to those previously described on Trichinella spiralis, Onchocerca volvulus and Brugia malayi. They were not detected on the protozoa Entamoeba histolytica, Giardia lamblia or Plasmodium falciparum. Sera from 163 individuals with single protozoan or helminth infections were assayed for PC-bearing circulating antigens in a two-site immunoassay; such antigens were found in almost all patients infected with Wuchereria bancrofti; in half of those infected with S. stercoralis; and in 7-15% of those with S. mansoni, T. cruzi or L. donovani; none was detected in those with Trichinella, hookworm, Echinococcus, malaria, Giardia or amoebic infections. Thus, while detection of circulating PC-antigen as an immunodiagnostic assay for filariasis could result in some 'false positives', it appears to be a potentially valuable immunodiagnostic tool that deserves wider field testing to determine its practical usefulness.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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