Anti-filarial IgG4 antibody has been shown to be a good marker for detection of lymphatic filaria infection. Previous studies demonstrated that anti-filarial IgG4 assay using BmR1 recombinant antigen was highly specific and sensitive for detection of brugian filariasis. For bancroftian filariasis, an equivalent assay employing recombinant antigen expressed from the ORF of SXP1 gene has been reported. In order to detect infections by all species of lymphatic filarial, BmR1 and BmSXP recombinant antigens were employed in the development of a pan LF-ELISA.
In the global effort to eliminate lymphatic filariasis (LF), rapid field-applicable tests are useful tools that will allow on-site testing to be performed in remote places and the results to be obtained rapidly. Exclusive reliance on the few existing tests may jeopardize the progress of the LF elimination program, thus the introduction of other rapid tests would be useful to address this issue. Two new rapid immunochromatographic IgG4 cassette tests have been produced, namely WB rapid and panLF rapid, for detection of bancroftian filariasis and all three species of lymphatic filaria respectively. WB rapid was developed using BmSXP recombinant antigen, while PanLF rapid was developed using BmR1 and BmSXP recombinant antigens. A total of 165 WB rapid and 276 panLF rapid tests respectively were evaluated at USM and the rest were couriered to another university in Malaysia (98 WB rapid, 129 panLF rapid) and to universities in Indonesia (56 WB rapid, 62 panLF rapid), Japan (152 of each test) and India (18 of each test) where each of the tests underwent independent evaluations in a blinded manner. The average sensitivities of WB rapid and panLF rapid were found to be 97.6% (94%-100%) and 96.5% (94%-100%) respectively; while their average specificities were both 99.6% (99%-100%). Thus this study demonstrated that both the IgG4 rapid tests were highly sensitive and specific, and would be useful additional tests to facilitate the global drive to eliminate this disease.
BACKGROUND: The recombinant antigen BmR1 has been extensively employed in both ELISA and immunochromatographic rapid dipstick (Brugia Rapid) formats for the specific and sensitive detection of IgG4 antibodies against the lymphatic filarial parasites Brugia malayi and Brugia timori. In sera of individuals infected with Wuchereria bancrofti the IgG4 reactivity to BmR1 is variable, and cross-reactivity of sera from individuals infected with Onchocerca volvulus or Loa loa was observed only in single cases. In order to characterize the homologs of the BmR1 antigen in W. bancrofti (Wb-BmR1), O. volvulus (Ov-BmR1) and L. loa (Ll-BmR1) the cDNA sequences were identified, the protein expressed and the antibody reactivity of patients' sera was studied. METHODS: PCR methodology was used to identify the cDNA sequences from cDNA libraries and/or genomic DNA of W. bancrofti, O. volvulus and L. loa. The clones obtained were sequenced and compared to the cDNA sequence of BmR1. Ov-BmR1 and Ll-BmR1 were expressed in E. coli and tested using an IgG4-ELISA with 262 serum samples from individuals with or without B. malayi, W. bancrofti, O. volvulus and L. loa infections or various other parasitic infections. BmR1, Ov-BmR1 and Ll-BmR1 were also tested for reactivity with the other three IgG subclasses in patients' sera. RESULTS: Wb-BmR1 was found to be identical to BmR1. Ov-BmR1 and Ll-BmR1 were found to be identical to each other and share 99.7% homology with BmR1. The pattern of IgG4 recognition of all serum samples to BmR1, Ov-BmR1 and Ll-BmR1 were identical. This included weak IgG4 reactivities demonstrated by L. loa- and O. volvulus-infected patients tested with Ov-BmR1 and Ll-BmR1 (or BmR1). With respect to reactivity to other IgG subclasses, sera from O. volvulus- and L. loa-infected patients showed positive reactions (when tested with BmR1, Ov-BmR1 or Ll-BmR1 antigens) only with IgG1. No reactivity was observed with IgG2 or with IgG3. Similarly, ELISAs to detect reactivity to other anti-filarial IgG subclasses antibodies showed that sera from individuals infected with B. malayi or W. bancrofti (active infections as well as patients with chronic disease) were positive with BmR1 only for IgG1 and were negative when tested with IgG2 and with IgG3 subclasses. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that homologs of the BmR1 antigen are present in W. bancrofti, O. volvulus and L. loa and that these antigens are highly conserved. Recognition of this antigen by patients' sera is similar with regard to IgG1, IgG2 and IgG3, but different for IgG4 antibodies. We conclude that the BmR1 antigen is suitable for detection of IgG4 antibodies in brugian filariasis. However, its homologs are not suitable for IgG4-based diagnosis of other filarial infections.
BACKGROUND: Brugia malayi is endemic in several Asian countries with the highest prevalence in Indonesia. Determination of prevalence of lymphatic filariasis by serology has been performed by various investigators using different kinds of antigen (either soluble worm antigen preparations or recombinant antigens). This investigation compared the data obtained from IgG4 assays using two different kinds of antigen in a study on prevalence of antibodies to B. malayi. METHODS: Serum samples from a transmigrant population and life long residents previously tested with IgG4 assay using soluble worm antigen (SWA-ELISA), were retested with an IgG4 assay that employs BmR1 recombinant antigen (BmR1 dipstick [Brugia Rapid trade mark ]). The results obtained with the two antigens were compared, using Pearson chi-square and McNemar test. RESULTS: There were similarities and differences in the results obtained using the two kinds of antigen (SWA and BmR1). Similarities included the observation that assays using both antigens demonstrated an increasing prevalence of IgG4 antibodies in the transmigrant population with increasing exposure to the infection, and by six years living in the area, antibody prevalence was similar to that of life-long residents. With regards to differences, of significance is the demonstration of similar antibody prevalence in adults and children by BmR1 dipstick whereas by SWA-ELISA the antibody prevalence in adults was higher than in children. CONCLUSIONS: Results and conclusions made from investigations of prevalence of anti-filarial IgG4 antibody in a population would be affected by the assay employed in the study.