Serodiagnosis of amoebiasis remains the preferred method for diagnosis of amoebic liver abscess (ALA). However, the commercially available kits are problematic in areas of endemicity due to the persistently high background antibody titers. Human serum samples (n = 38) from patients with ALA who live in areas of endemicity were collected from Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia during the period of 2008 to 2010. Western blots using excretory-secretory antigen (ESA) collected from axenically grown Entamoeba histolytica were probed with the above serum samples. Seven antigenic proteins of ESA with various reactivities were identified, i.e., 152 kDa, 131 kDa, 123 kDa, 110 kDa, 100 kDa, 82 kDa, and 76 kDa. However, only the 152-kDa and 110-kDa proteins showed sensitivities above 80% in the Western blot analysis. All the antigenic proteins showed undetectable cross-reactivity when probed with healthy human serum samples (n = 30) and serum samples from other infections (n = 33). From the matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-two-stage time of flight (MALDI-TOF/TOF) analysis, the proteins were identified as heavy subunits of E. histolytica lectin and E. histolytica pyruvate phosphate dikinase, respectively. Use of the E. histolytica lectin for diagnosis of ALA has been well reported by researchers and is being used in commercialized kits. However, this is the first report on the potential use of pyruvate phosphate dikinase for diagnosis of ALA; thus, this molecule merits further evaluation on its diagnostic value using a larger panel of serum samples.
Entamoeba histolytica is the etiologic agent for amoebiasis. The excretory-secretory (ES) products of the trophozoites contain virulence factors and antigens useful for diagnostic applications. Contaminants from serum supplements and dead trophozoites impede analysis of ES. Therefore, a protein-free medium that can sustain maximum viability of E. histolytica trophozoites for the longest time duration will enable collection of contaminant-free and higher yield of ES products. In the present study, we compared the efficacy of four types of media in maintaining ≥ 95% trophozoite viability namely Roswell Memorial Park Institute (RPMI-1640), Dulbecco's Modified Eagle Medium (DMEM), phosphate-buffered saline for amoeba (PBS-A), and Hank's balanced salt solution (HBSS). Concurrently, the effect of adding L: -cysteine and ascorbic acid (C&A) to each medium on the parasite viability was also compared. DMEM and RPMI 1640 showed higher viabilities as compared to PBS-A and HBSS. Only RPMI 1640 showed no statistical difference with the control medium for the first 4 h, however the ≥ 95% viability was only maintained for the first 2 h. The other protein-free media showed differences from the serum- and vitamin-free TYI-S-33 control media even after 1 h of incubation. When supplemented with C&A, all media were found to sustain higher trophozoite viabilities than those without the supplements. HBSS-C&A, DMEM-C&A, and RPMI 1640-C&A demonstrated no difference (P>0.05) in parasite viabilities when compared with the control medium throughout the 8-h incubation period. DMEM-C&A showed an eightfold increment in time duration of sustaining ≥ 95% parasite viability, i.e. 8 h, as compared to DMEM alone. Both RPMI 1640-C&A and HBSS-C&A revealed fourfold and threefold increments (i.e., 8 and 6 h, respectively), whereas PBS-A-C&A showed only one fold improvement (i.e., 2 h) as compared to the respective media without C&A. Thus, C&A-supplemented DMEM or RPMI are recommended for collection of ES products.
Entamoeba histolytica causes about 50 million infections worldwide with a death rate of over 100,000 annually. In endemic developing countries where resources are limited, microscopic examinations based on Wheatley trichrome staining is commonly used for diagnosis of intestinal amoebiasis. Other than being a time-consuming method, it must be performed promptly after stool collection as trophozoites disintegrate rapidly in faeces. The aim of this study was to compare the efficacies of Eosin-Y, Wheatley trichrome and Iodine stains in delineating the diagnostic features of the parasite, and subsequently to determine the suitable microscopy observation period for detection of erythrophagocytic and non-erythrophagocytic trophozoites spiked in semi-solid stool sample. Wheatley trichrome staining technique was performed using the standard method while the other two techniques were performed on the slides by mixing the respective staining solution with the spiked stool sample. One million of axenically cultured non-erythrophagocytic E. histolytica and erythrophagocytic E. histolytica were separately spiked into 2 g of fresh semisolid faeces. Percentage viability of the trophozoites in the spiked stool sample was determined at 30 minute intervals for eight hours using the 0.4% Trypan blue exclusion method. The results showed that Eosin-Y and Wheatley trichrome stained the karyosome and chromatin granules better as compared to Iodine stain. The percentage viability of non-erythrophagocytic trophozoites decreased faster than the erythrophagocytic form in the first 5 hours and both dropped to ~10% in the 6th hour spiked sample. In conclusion, Eosin-Y staining technique was found to be the easiest to perform, most rapid and as accurate as the commonly used Wheatley trichrome technique; Eosin-Y stained slide sealed with DPX could also be kept as a permanent record. A period not exceeding 6 hours after stool collection was found to be the most suitable in order to obtain good microscopy results of viable trophozoites.
Amoebic liver abscess (ALA) is the most frequent clinical presentation of extra-intestinal amoebiasis. The diagnosis of ALA is typically based on the developing clinical symptoms, characteristic changes on radiological imaging and serology. Numerous serological tests have been introduced for the diagnosis of ALA, either detecting circulating amoebic antigens or antibodies. However those tests show some pitfalls in their efficacy and/or the preparation of the tests are costly and tedious. The commercial IHA kit that used crude antigen was reported to be useful in diagnosis of ALA, however high antibody background in endemic areas may cause problems in its interpretation. Thus, discovery of well-defined antigen(s) is urgently needed to improve the weaknesses of current serodiagnostic tests.
Crude soluble antigen (CSA) produced from Entamoeba histolytica trophozoite is conventionally used for serodiagnosis of invasive amoebiasis. However, high background seropositivities by CSA-assay in endemic areas complicate the interpretation of positive result in clinical settings. Instead, incorporating a second assay which indicates active or recent infection into the routine amoebic serology could possibly complement the limitations of CSA-assay. Hence, the present study aimed to evaluate the diagnostic efficacies of indirect ELISAs using CSA and excretory-secretory antigen (ESA) for serodiagnosis of amoebic liver abscess (ALA). Reference standard for diagnosis of ALA at Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia is based on clinical presentation, radiological imaging and positive indirect haemagglutination assay (titer ≥256). Five groups of human serum samples collected from the hospital included Group I - ALA diagnosed by the reference standard and pus aspirate analysis using real-time PCR (n=10), Group II - ALA diagnosed by the reference standard only (n=41), Group III - healthy control (n=45), Group IV - other diseases control (n=51) and Group V - other infectious diseases control (n=31). For serodiagnosis of ALA serum samples (Group I and II), CSA-ELISA showed sensitivities of 100% for both groups, while ESA-ELISA showed sensitivities of 100% and 88%, respectively. For serodiagnosis of non-ALA serum samples (Group III, IV and V), CSA-ELISA showed specificities of 91%, 75% and 100%, respectively; while ESA-ELISA showed specificities of 96%, 98% and 100%, respectively. Indirect ELISAs using CSA and ESA have shown distinct strength for serodiagnosis of ALA, in terms of sensitivity and specificity, respectively. In conclusion, parallel analysis by both assays improved the overall efficacies of amoebic serology as compared to either single assay.