Components of pathogenic Leptospira spp. with potentials for diagnosis of human leptospirosis.Asian Pac J Allergy Immunol. 2007 Dec; 25(4):225-32.AP
Existing serological methods for diagnosis of leptospirosis are still unsatisfactorily due mainly to their low accuracy. In this study, serum samples of 18 clinically diagnosed-, IgM dipstick positive-, MAT positive-leptospirosis patients (group 1) were analyzed by IgG Western blotting against SDS-PAGE separated-whole cell homogenates of pathogenic and non-pathogenic Leptospira spp. belonging to 20 serovars of 15 serogroups. The samples of group 1 were collected from the patients at days 3 to 10 after the fever onset (fist samples). Second and third samples could be obtained from 4 patients. Sera of the 22 patients with other febrile illnesses (group 2) and 22 healthy counterparts (group 3) were used as patient- and normal- controls, respectively. Irrespective of the serovar or serogroup of the pathogenic Leptospira spp. used as antigen in the Western blotting, all of the 18 sera of patients with leptospirosis (group 1) gave characteristic diffuse antigen-antibody reactive bands located at approximately 35-38 and 22-26 kDa; and thus 100% diagnostic sensitivity of the Western blot assay. Some serum samples of the leptospirosis patients also reacted to components located at 80-100, approximately 70, 60, 54, and 48 kDa. More bands or the early recognized bands with increased intensity were observed when tested the second and third samples. The characteristic bands were not seen when homogenates of L. biflexa, serogroup Semaranga, serovar Patoc (saprophytic) and L. biflexa, serogroup Andamana, serovar Andamana (non-pathogenic but can infect host) were used in the assay. Sera of groups 2 and 3 did not react to the components at the seven locations implying 100% diagnostic specificity of the IgG Western blot assay. While awaiting validation with more patients' samples, the IgG Western Blot analysis aiming at the detection of the characteristic antigen-antibody reactive bands described in this study has high potential for early, rapid, simple and accurate diagnosis of human leptospirosis.