Author(s): Maes R
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Abstract The humoral immune response occurring during mycobacterial infections was analysed with an ELISA test based on antigen 60. With tuberculosis, IgM antibodies indicate a primo-infection or a process of reactivation while IgG determinations allow an evaluation of the intensity of the infectious process. The test is also applicable to extrapulmonary tuberculosis, provided its sensitivity be adapted to these particular cases. This is particularly clear for tuberculous meningitis. The test is not species-specific and allows the detection of antibodies in atypical mycobacterioses and in leprosy patients. The final differentiation must be done by clinical examinations and cultures. In leprosy patients, IgM antibodies are detected nearly as frequently as IgG antibodies. In HIV-seropositive patients, the A60 seropositivity is correlated with a reactivation of former tuberculous infections and with primary tuberculous infections. At the AIDS stage, the A-60 seropositivity is due to atypical mycobacteria, with a better IgM than IgG response. Healthy people are negative in serology: the positive cases observed are due to inapparent infections gained by contact with an infectious focus. The seropositive cases observed in non-tuberculous hospitalized patients are restricted to some disease types, essentially lung infections (cystic fibrosis, cancer pneumopathies, sarcoidosis). Some patients have low levels of antibodies. This anergy may be traced to the formation of immune complexes or else to a weak avidity of the specific antibodies produced. This test should not be considered to be a diagnostic tool by itself. It should be used in conjunction with other diagnostic means that, together, allow the determination of a diagnosis.
This article was published in Klin Wochenschr
and referenced in Clinical Microbiology: Open Access