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Med Mycol J. 2017;58(2):J51-J54. doi: 10.3314/mmj.17.005.

Dermatophyte Antigen Kit.

[Article in Japanese]

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Department of Dermatology, Tokyo Women's Medical University.


The dermatophyte antigen kit uses monoclonal antibodies that react with polysaccharides present in the dermatophyte cell wall to detect dermatophyte antigens in specimens based on the principle of immunochromatography. Clinical studies showed that the kit was very useful in the diagnosis of tinea unguium but not tinea pedis. The kit was therefore further developed as an in vitro diagnostic tool for tinea unguium and was approved by the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency of Japan. The kit's extraction solution can extract antigens from nail specimens quickly and efficiently. When direct microscopy fails to detect fungal elements in a specimen of suspected tinea unguium, the kit can be used so that positive samples are re-examined by direct microscopy, in order to reduce the likelihood of false-negative detection. In addition, in settings where direct microscopy is unavailable, the kit can be used so that treatment for dermatophytes is withheld when results are negative. Such an approach can reduce both wasteful treatment and medical costs. It is important to note that the kit is used to complement conventional fungus testing methods and that direct microscopy must be used to confirm the final morphological diagnosis of the pathogenic fungal infection. Use of a combination of direct microscopy and this kit should improve the accuracy of diagnosis of tinea unguium.

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