Development of an indirect ELISA for the serodiagnosis of canine infection by Onchocerca lupi

Maria Stefania Latrofa, Viviane Noll Louzada-Flores, Carla Maia, Maureen A Kelly, Guilherme G Verocai, Cinzia Cantacessi, Domenico Otranto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Onchocerca lupi is a zoonotic filarioid parasite of dogs and cats with widespread distribution. A specific non-invasive diagnostic assay for the detection of O. lupi infections remains unavailable. This study aimed to assess the accuracy, specificity, and sensitivity of an ELISA test designed using nine peptides from two O. lupi proteins. Sera (n = 54) collected from O. lupi infected dogs from endemic areas (Portugal and USA), alongside sera from dogs positive for Dirofilaria immitis, D. repens, Cercopithifilaria bainae, and Acanthocheilonema reconditum (n = 53) from a non-endemic area for O. lupi, as well as from helminth-free dogs (n = 60), were tested. The checkerboard titration method was applied for the optimization of peptide concentrations and conjugate anti-dog dilutions. Sensitivity, specificity, and optimal cut-off values were calculated using ROC curve analysis. All peptides reacted against sera of O. lupi, with no correlation between optic density (OD) values and microfilariae (mfs) loads. Sensitivity and specificity values ranging from 85.45 to 100%, and 88.89% to 100%, respectively, were recorded for all peptides examined, with 100% specificity and sensitivity observed for peptides 40_3, 40_5, 130_3, 120_3 and 40_1, 130_5, respectively. The maximum cut-off value was observed for peptides 40_5 (0.765) and 40_3 (0.708). Testing of sera from dogs positive for other filarioids resulted in lower OD values (up to 1.565) for peptides 40_3 and 40_5 when compared with O. lupi (up to 2.929). The availability of this assay will be of value in epidemiological studies of canine O. lupi infection in both endemic and non-endemic areas, and in assessing the risk for zoonotic transmission.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3348
Pages (from-to)3348
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Feb 2024


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