Performance of immunoblotting in diagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis in human immunodeficiency virus-Leishmania sp.-coinfected patients

G. Santos-Gomes, Sandra Gomes-Pereira, L. Campino, M. De Almeida Araújo, P Abranches

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Abstract

This study evaluated the performance of immunoblotting with Leishmania infantum soluble antigens for the diagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected and immunocompetent patients and assessed the humoral responses of patients coinfected with HIV and Leishmania. In this work, the results of the immunoblot analysis were compared to those of parasitological examination (Giemsa-stained smears and/or parasite isolation in Novy, Nicolle, and MacNeal medium from bone marrow) and indirect immunofluorescence and counterimmunoelectrophoresis techniques. Patients were considered to be infected if one or more of the comparison techniques gave a positive result. Immunoblotting was considered to be positive if at least one band was present. For 198 HIV-positive patients with a clinical suspicion of visceral leishmaniasis, immunoblot analysis had a sensitivity of 70.6%, a specificity of 73.2%, and an accuracy of 72.7%. For a separate group of 40 immunocompetent patients not infected with Leishmania, the immunoblot analysis was negative for all patients (100% specificity), and for a third group of 32 immunocompetent patients with confirmed visceral leishmaniasis, the immunoblot analysis was positive for all patients (100% sensitivity). Sera of coinfected patients recognized few bands and recognized bands at lower intensities compared with sera from immunocompetent patients. The most frequently detected band was 63 to 66 kDa (55.9%), with the difference being statistically significant compared to frequency of detection of the other bands. This study confirms that the humoral response in patients coinfected with HIV and Leishmania is much lower than that in immunocompetent patients and that the immunoblot method is a sensitive, noninvasive, and specific serological technique for the diagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis in immunocompromised patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-178
Number of pages4
JournalJournal Of Clinical Microbiology
VolumeVol. 38
Issue numbern.º 1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2000

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