The screening for anti-amoebic antibody among a group of donors was to obtain negative control serum samples for an on-going antigen development assay in diagnosis of amoebic liver abscess. Out of 200 samples, 125 (62.5%) were negative, whereas 44 (21.5%) had IHA titer of less than 1:128 and 31 (16.0%) of the samples had significant IHA titers of 1:128 or more, in which 2 serum samples gave titers of 1:4096.
Malaria causes high global mortality and morbidity annually. Plasmodium knowlesi has been recognised as the fifth human Plasmodium sp. and its infection is widely distributed in Southeast Asia. Merozoite surface protein-119 (MSP-119) appears as a potential candidate for malaria blood stage vaccine as it could induce protective immunity. In this study, codon optimized P. knowlesi MSP-119 (pkMSP-119) was expressed and purified in yeast Pichia pastoris expression system. The purified recombinant protein was further evaluated using Western blot assay using knowlesi malaria, non-knowlesi human malaria, non-malarial parasitic infections and healthy serum samples (n = 50). The sensitivity of purified pkMSP-119 towards detection of knowlesi infection was as 28.6% (2/7). pkMSP-119 did not react with all non-malarial parasitic infections and healthy donor sera, yet reacted with some non-knowlesi human malaria sera, therefore lead to a specificity of 86.0% (37/43).
Toxoplasma gondii, an obligate intracellular protozoan parasite, causes a disease called toxoplasmosis which can sometimes be acquired congenitally by a newborn from an infected mother. This study aimed to determine the seroprevalence of Toxoplasma infection and its associated risks among 219 and 215 pregnant women from Malaysia and Myanmar, respectively.
Toxoplasmosis is an important cause of congenital infection. The present study was performed to evaluate the usefulness of recombinant (r) GRA-7 cloned from nucleotides (n) 39-711 in discriminating between acute and chronic toxoplasmosis. First, commercial IgM, IgG and IgG avidity ELISAs were used to determine the serological profile of the sera. Serum samples were from 20 symptomatic patients with acute infection (low IgG avidity, IgM positive), 10 with chronic infection (high IgG avidity, IgM negative) and 10 with indeterminate IgG avidity (IgM positive) which were tested for IgG avidity status with an in-house developed IgG avidity Western blot using the rGRA-7 recombinant antigen. All 20 sera from cases of probable acute infection showed bands which either faded out completely or reduced significantly in intensity after treatment with 8 M urea, whereas the band intensities of the 10 serum samples from chronic cases remained the same. Of the 10 sera with indeterminate IgG avidity status, after treatment with 8 M urea the band intensities with six sera remained the same, two sera had completely faded bands and another two sera had significantly reduced band intensities. Discrimination between acute and chronic toxoplasmosis was successfully performed by the in-house IgG avidity Western blot.
A comparative seroprevalence study on bovine trypanosomiasis and anaplasmosis was conducted. Sera of adult cattle and buffaloes of different breeds from farms from five different states in Malaysia were collected and tested for the presence of Trypanosoma evansi antibodies by CATT and Anaplasma marginale antibodies by c-ELISA. Of the 116 samples, 14.7% tested positive for bovine trypanosomiasis and 77.6% for bovine anaplasmosis.
Toxoplasmosis can cause serious disease in immunocompromised patients and to congenitally infected foetuses. Appropriate laboratory investigations in potential cases of acute Toxoplasma infection are important. Excretory secretory antigen (ESA) is immunogenic during both human and experimental infections, therefore is considered as a good candidate for investigation into new infection markers. In this study, ESA was prepared from in vitro cultures of Toxoplasma gondii to identify T. gondii ESA antigenic component(s) that is/are most reactive with serum samples from probable acute cases of toxoplasmosis. Serum samples were obtained from several categories of individuals with the following Toxoplasma serology: Group I: IgM+ IgG+ (low IgG avidity) or IgM+ IgG- from sera of patients who had clinical query of toxoplasmosis (n=35). Group II: IgM- IgG+ (high IgG avidity) from chronically infected individuals (n=30). Group III: normal/healthy individuals with anti-Toxoplasma IgMIgG- (n=20). Group IV: individuals with other infections who had anti-Toxoplasma IgM- IgG- (n=10). The ESA was subjected to SDS-PAGE, followed by Western blot analysis using the above sera and probed with peroxidase conjugated anti-human IgM and IgA antibodies. The blots were then developed using chemiluminescence substrate. The selected antigenic band was excised from the gel after two dimensional electrophoresis and sent for mass spectrometry analysis using MALDI TOF-TOF. The most promising antigenic band was a 10 kDa protein which showed sensitivity of 80% in both IgM and IgA blots, and specificity of 96.7% with sera from other infections and healthy controls. The two best identifications for the 10 kDa band were ubiquitin (ribosomal protein CEP52 fusion protein) and polyubiquitin.
Antibodies to the protozoan parasite, Toxoplasma gondii were assayed in sera of 200 goats, 100 pigs, 126 cattle from various states of Malaysia, and 135 dogs and 55 cats around Ipoh region using an indirect fluorescence antibody test (IFAT, cut-off titer 1:200); antibodies were found in 35.5% of goats, 14.5% cats, 9.6% dogs, 7.9% local cattle and 4% yellow cattle but not in pigs. Results indicate that infection is most prevalent in goats.
A truncated form of surface antigen 2 (SAG2) of the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii was cloned and expressed in the methylotrophic yeast Pichia pastoris. This recombinant antigen, designated as recSAG2-N, contained only the N-terminal half of the native SAG2. The recSAG2-N was secreted by the Pichia pastoris into the culture supernatant, and it was harvested by using the trichloroacetic acid precipitation method. Specificity of recSAG2-N was evaluated in western blot assays. Fifty human serum samples, including 32 from confirmed cases of toxoplasmosis, were tested. Results from the assays showed that recSAG2-N reacted with sera from the toxoplasmosis cases only. In vivo experiments showed that serum from mice which received recSAG2-N reacted with the native SAG2 of T. gondii.
Diagnosis of human toxocariasis, caused by Toxocara canis or Toxocara cati, normally relies on a combination of the presence of clinical signs and symptoms backed by positive serology. The use of Toxocara excretory-secretory antigen (TES) in ELISA assays increases the test specificity. However, in tropical countries where soil-transmitted helminths are endemic, cross-reactivity from antibodies to these intestinal parasites poses a significant limitation for Toxocara serodiagnosis. To increase the specificity of serodiagnosis, we compared the use of IgG-ELISA to the use of IgG4-ELISA using commercially manufactured TES-coated plates. The sensitivity of the IgG-ELISA was 97.1%, while that of the IgG4-ELISA was 45.7%; the specificities were 36.0 and 78.6%, respectively. The study shows that employing both assays can improve the serodiagnosis of toxocariasis. An IgG4 immunoassay would also be useful in the secondary screening of antigen clones in the effort to develop improved serological tests for toxocariasis.
Various studies on toxoplasmosis in Malaysia have shown that specific antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii are common among Malaysians. Among the ethnic groups, the Malays have the highest prevalence rate followed by Indians, Orang Aslis (aborigines) and Chinese. Antibody is acquired early in life and increases with age. There is no significant difference in the prevalence rate between males and females. The disease is apparently more prevalent among rural dwellers and those in the lower socioeconomic group. It appears that the prevalence rate is also influenced by environmental conditions, occupation, diet and cultural habits. Studies with animals have shown the presence of antibody to T. gondii, but this does not seem to be the source of infection since Malaysians normally cook their meat well.
Thirty in vitro serial passages of Toxoplasman gondii cultures in Vero cell line performed once in every five days had a mean increase in parasite count of 74.4 +/- 14.8 times from that of initial counts. Long term cultures in Vero cell line did not alter the virulence of the parasite. The good correlation (r = 0.99) between the IFA titer and ELISA OD values using the parasite antigens from in vitro sources indicates that long term maintenance of T. gondii in culture does not affect significantly the ability to recognize antibodies to surface and soluble antigens. The results also show that soluble antigens containing host cells can be directly used for immunodiagnostic purposes without purification. The in vitro maintenance of T. gondii is safer and cheaper when compared to the in vivo method.
Sarcocystis is a tissue coccidian with an obligatory two-host life cycle. The sexual generations of gametogony and sporogony occur in the lamina propria of the small intestine of definitive hosts which shed infective sporocysts in their stools and present with intestinal sarcocystosis. Asexual multiplication occurs in the skeletal and cardiac muscles of intermediate hosts which harbor Sarcocystis cysts in their muscles and present with muscular sarcocystosis. In Malaysia, Sarcocystis cysts have been reported from many domestic and wild animals, including domestic and field rats, moonrats, bandicoots, slow loris, buffalo, and monkey, and man. The known definitive hosts for some species of Sarcocystis are the domestic cat, dog and the reticulated python. Human muscular sarcocystosis in Malaysia is a zoonotic infection acquired by contamination of food or drink with sporocysts shed by definitive hosts. The cysts reported in human muscle resembled those seen in the moonrat, Echinosorex gymnurus, and the long-tailed monkey, Macaca fascicularis. While human intestinal sarcocystosis has not been reported in Malaysia so far, it can be assumed that such cases may not be infrequent in view of the occurrence of Sarcocystis cysts in meat animals, such as buffalo. The overall seroprevalence of 19.8% reported among the main racial groups in Malaysia indicates that sarcocystosis (both the intestinal and muscular forms) may be emerging as a significant food-borne zoonotic infection in the country.
An accurate diagnosis for toxoplasmosis is crucial for pregnant women as this infection may lead to severe sequelae in the fetus. The value of IgG avidity assay as a tool to determine acute and chronic toxoplasmosis during pregnancy was evaluated in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre (UKMMC). In this study, 281 serum samples from 281 pregnant women in various trimesters were collected. These samples were assayed using specific anti-Toxoplasma IgM and IgG antibodies, followed by IgG avidity test. The overall seroprevalence of toxoplasmosis in pregnant women was 35.2% (33.5% for anti-Toxoplasma IgG and 1.8% for both anti-Toxoplasma IgG and IgM antibodies). Of 5 (1.8%) serum samples positive for IgM ELISA, 4 had high-avidity antibodies, suggesting past infection and one sample with borderline avidity index. Two samples with low avidity were from IgM negative serum samples. The IgG avidity assay exhibited an excellent specificity of 97.6% and a negative predictive value (NPV) of 95.6%. The study also demonstrated no significant correlation between avidity indexes of the sera with IgG (r=0.12, p=0.24) and IgM (r=-0.00, p=0.98), suggesting the complementary needs of the two tests for a better diagnosis outcome. These findings highlight the usefulness of IgG avidity assay in excluding a recently acquired toxoplasmosis infection in IgM-positive serum sample.
Toxoplasmosis, being one of the TORCH's infections in pregnant women, is caused by Toxoplasma gondii, an obligate intracellular protozoan parasite. This parasitic infection in pregnancy congenitally causes severe outcomes to their fetus and newborn. This study aimed to determine the seroprevalence and stages of Toxoplasma infection in pregnant women and its associated risks exposures.
Toxoplasma gondii infects all warm-blooded animals, including humans. Early diagnosis and determining the infective stage are critical for effectively treating immunosuppressed individuals and pregnant women with toxoplasmosis. Among the rhoptry proteins of the parasite, Rhoptry protein 8 (ROP8), is known to be expressed during the early stages of T. gondii infection and is involved in parasitophorous vacuole formation. In this study, we have investigated the diagnostic efficacy of recombinant ROP8 (rROP8).
Recent reports indicate Neospora caninum has a possible role in causing abortions in sheep in New Zealand. Knowledge about the epidemiology of neosporosis in sheep is limited. This study aimed to adapt and validate a commercially available ELISA assay as an IgG avidity assay to discriminate between acute (primary and re-inoculated) and chronic N. caninum infections in sheep. In addition, it was used to compare the antibody avidity values between lambs from ewes inoculated with N. caninum either during the pregnancy or in the previous year. The avidity assay was undertaken by using 6M urea for the first wash after incubation with the primary antibody in the commercial ELISA (Chekit* Neospora antibody test kit, IDEXX Laboratories, Australia). Sequential serum samples were obtained from naïve ewes (n=16) experimentally inoculated with live N. caninum tachyzoites. All ewes were seropositive by two weeks post-inoculation and remained seropositive for 20 weeks post-inoculation. There was a linear relationship between time after inoculation and avidity values (p<0.05) over the first 24 weeks. In Week 4, all animals had avidity values <35% and by Week 8, 8/16 animals had avidity values of >35%. These results suggest that an avidity value of <35% indicates a recent primary infection while a value of >35% is indicative of a chronic infection. The assay was then validated using samples from other groups of experimentally inoculated sheep as well as samples from naturally infected ewes. When comparing sample to positive ratio (S/P) and avidity values from lambs born from recently inoculated ewes with those from ewes inoculated the previous year and re-inoculated in the current year, it was possible to differentiate the lambs at 2 weeks of age. Lambs from recently inoculated ewes had low S/P and avidity values at 2 weeks of age which increased by 12 weeks of age. In comparison, lambs from re-inoculated ewes had high S/P and avidity values at 2 weeks of age, due to maternal antibody influence but values were similar to those from lambs that were born from recently inoculated ewes at 12 weeks of age. Avidity values for four naturally infected ewes were all >60% indicating chronic infection. These results suggest that the assay is able to discriminate between recent and chronic infection in sheep as well as able to differentiate lambs with maternal immunity compared to their own de novo immunity. As such it can be utilized to understand the kinetics of N. caninum infection in sheep.
Entamoeba histolytica causes amoebic diarrhoea, colitis and liver abscess (ALA). Diagnosis of ALA is difficult, as most patients do not have simultaneous intestinal amoebic infection. At Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia (HUSM), diagnosis of ALA relies on a combination of clinical findings, ultrasound examination of the liver and serodiagnosis using a commercial kit. In this study, two in-house indirect ELISAs were developed and evaluated. One of the in-house assays utilises E. histolytica crude soluble antigen (CSA) to detect serum IgG specific to the parasite whereas the other uses E. histolytica ether extract antigen (EEA). Preparation of CSA requires a sonicator to lyse the amoeba whereas EEA was prepared by chemically solubilizing the trophozoites. Based on the cut-off value of mean optical density + 3SD, CSA-ELISA showed 100% (24/24) sensitivity and 93.33% (210/225) specificity; while EEA-ELISA showed 91.67% (22/24) sensitivity and 95.11% (214/225) specificity. In conclusion, both the in-house indirect ELISAs were found to be efficacious for diagnosis of ALA; and the EEA is easier to prepare than the commonly used CSA.
Toxoplasma gondii infects all warm-blooded animals including humans, causing serious public health problems and great economic loss in the food industry. Commonly used serological tests involve preparation of whole Toxoplasma lysate antigens from tachyzoites which are costly and hazardous. An alternative method for better antigen production involving the prokaryotic expression system was therefore used in this study. Recombinant dense granular protein, GRA2, was successfully cloned, expressed, and purified in Escherichia coli, BL21 (DE3) pLysS. The potential of this purified antigen for diagnosis of human infections was evaluated through western blot analysis against 100 human serum samples. Results showed that the rGRA2 protein has 100 and 61.5 % sensitivity towards acute and chronic infection, respectively, in T. gondii-infected humans, indicating that this protein is useful in differentiating present and past infections. Therefore, it is suitable to be used as a sensitive and specific molecular marker for the serodiagnosis of Toxoplasma infection in both humans and animals.
Schizophrenia is a pervasive neuropsychiatric disease of unknown cause. Previous studies have reported that toxoplasmosis may be a possible cause of schizophrenia. To ascertain possible relationship between Toxoplasma gondii and schizophrenia, a cross sectional study, employing an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was performed to study the seroprevalence of anti-T. gondii IgG antibody in schizophrenic patients. Furthermore, demographic data analysis from schizophrenic patients were analysed to associate toxoplasmosis with schizophrenia. A total of 288 serum samples from schizophrenic patients (n=144) and psychiatrically healthy volunteers (n=144) were recruited in this study. Interestingly, a significant result in the serointensity rate of anti-T. gondii IgG antibody (> 60 IU/mL) in schizophrenic patients (61.1%) was demonstrated as compared to psychiatrically healthy volunteers (40.8%) (X² = 4.236, p < 0.050). However, there was no significant difference between the seropositivity rate of anti-T. gondii IgG antibody between the two groups. Analysis from demographic data revealed that the seropositivity rate of anti-T. gondii IgG antibody in schizophrenic patients was significantly associated with age group of more than 40 years old (p=0.007) and between ethnic (p=0.046). Nevertheless, no significant association between seropositivity rate of anti-T. gondii IgG antibody with gender (p=0.897), duration of illness (p=0.344) and family history of schizophrenia (p=0.282) in these patients. Thus, this finding is essential as a preliminary data in Malaysia to establish the association between T. gondii and schizophrenia.
In this study we have cloned unreported gene fragments of Toxoplasma gondii GRA7 and SAG1 and expressed the corresponding recombinant proteins, followed by evaluation of their usefulness for the serological diagnosis of toxoplasmosis. Both recombinant proteins were expressed efficiently in insoluble form, purified by single step Ni-NTA affinity chromatography and their antigenicity to detect toxoplasma specific IgG antibodies were determined by immunoblotting. A total of 60 serum samples from three groups of individuals based on their anti-toxoplasma antibody profiles were tested, namely (I) IgM+, IgG+ (n=20), (II) IgM-, IgG+ (n=20) and (III) IgM-, IgG- (n=20). Both recombinant proteins exhibited high sensitivity (100%) with sera from Group I. rGRA7 and rSAG1 reacted 40% and 80% respectively with Group II sera. The specificity of the recombinant proteins based on reactivities with Group III sera were 100% and 80% with rGRA7 and rSAG1 respectively. Thus rGRA7 was found to be better at discriminating probable acute from chronic phases of toxoplasmosis, and it also showed higher specificity.