Immunodiagnosis of systemic aspergillosis. I. Antigenemia detected by radioimmunoassay in experimental infection

Marc H. Weiner, Marion Coats-Stephen

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43 Scopus citations


Because systemic aspergillosis is difficult to diagnose ante mortem, a study to improve immunodiagnosis was undertaken in a rabbit model of disseminated infection. We found that the predominant humoral response of infected animals was directed against four Aspergillus antigens identified by crossed immunoelectrophoresis. One of these antigens, a cell-wall carbohydrate, was purified by gel-filtration chromatography and was used to develop a radioimmunoassay. The sensitivity of this assay was increased by testing for serum-bound antigen as well as for free antigen. When the sensitivity of the RIA was evaluated in the animal model, antigenemia was detected in 78% of 51 rabbits with disseminated infection and ante mortem in 86% of 42 rabbits with lethal infection. By contrast, with immunoprecipitin analysis only eight of 51 rabbits were positive for antigen, and six of 51 rabbits were positive for Aspergillus antibody. The specificity of the RIA was also tested. Negative controls for antigen included sera from 76 normal rabbits and sera from 25 rabbits with systemic candidiasis. The Candida control group is pertinent because 48% of these rabbits had specific Candida antigenemia detected by a mannan RIA. This study demonstrates that Aspergillus antigenemia occurs during the course of experimental disseminated aspergillosis and illustrates the potential of an Aspergillus antigen RIA for sensitive, specific immunodiagnosis of human infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-119
Number of pages9
JournalThe Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1979

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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