Traditionally serum and/or CSF specimens have been used for detection of either specific antibodies or antigens as a supportive diagnosis of NCC. However, in recent days, much interest has been shown employing noninvasive specimens such as urine. In our study, we identified and compared a profile of circulating antigenic peptides of parasite origin in three different body fluids (CSF, serum and urine) obtained from confirmed NCC cases and control subjects. The circulating antigenic peptides were resolved by SDS-PAGE and subjected to immunoblotting. For confirmation of their origin as parasite somatic or excretory secretory (ES) material, immunoreactivity was tested employing affinity purified polyclonal Taenia solium metacestode anti-somatic or ES antibodies, respectively. Only lower molecular weight antigenic peptides were found circulating in urine in contrast to serum and CSF specimens. Few somatic peptides were identified to be 100% specific for NCC (19·5 kDa in all three specimens; 131, 70 kDa in CSF and serum only; 128 kDa in CSF only). Similarly, the specific ES peptides detected were 32 kDa (in all three specimens), 16·5 kDa (in serum and CSF only), and 15 kDa (urine only). A test format detecting either one or more of these specific peptides would enhance the sensitivity in diagnosis of NCC.
Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) were developed for the detection of IgG, IgG4 and IgE antibodies against Strongyloides stercoralis. A commercial ELISA (IVD Research, USA) was also used, and the sensitivities and specificities of the four assays were determined. Serum samples from 26 patients with S. stercoralis infection and 55 patients with other infections or no infection were analysed. Sensitivities of the IgG4 , IgG, IgE and IgG (IVD) assays were 76.9%, 84.6%, 7.7% and 84.6%, respectively, while the specificities were 92.7%, 81.8%, 100% and 83.6%, respectively. If filariasis samples were excluded, the specificities of the IgG4 -ELISA and both IgG-ELISAs increased to 100% and 98%, respectively. A significant positive correlation was observed between IgG- and IgG4 -ELISAs (r = 0.4828; P = 0.0125). IgG- and IgG- (IVD) ELISAs (r = 0.309) were positively correlated, but was not significant (P = 0.124). Meanwhile there was no correlation between IgG4 - and IgG- (IVD) ELISAs (r = 0.0042; P = 0.8294). Sera from brugian filariasis patients showed weak, positive correlation between the titres of antifilarial IgG4 and the optical densities of anti-Strongyloides IgG4 -ELISA (r = 0.4544, P = 0.0294). In conclusion, the detection of both anti-Strongyloides IgG4 and IgG antibodies could improve the serodiagnosis of human strongyloidiasis. Furthermore, patients from lymphatic filariasis endemic areas who are serologically diagnosed with strongyloidiasis should also be tested for filariasis.
Considerable effort is directed at the development of a malaria vaccine that elicits antigen-specific T-cell responses against pre-erythrocytic antigens of Plasmodium falciparum. Genetic restriction of host T-cell responses and polymorphism of target epitopes on parasite antigens pose obstacles to the development of such a vaccine. Liver stage-specific antigen-1 (LSA-1) is a prime candidate vaccine antigen and five T-cell epitopes that are degenerately restricted by HLA molecules common in most populations have been identified on LSA-1. To define the extent of polymorphism within these T-cell epitopes, the N-terminal non-repetitive region of the LSA-1 gene from Malaysian P. falciparum field isolates was sequenced and compared with data of isolates from Brazil, Kenya and Papua New Guinea. Three of the T-cell epitopes were completely conserved while the remaining two were highly conserved in the isolates examined. Our findings underscore the potential of including these HLA-degenerate T-cell epitopes of LSA-1 in a subunit vaccine.