Serological evaluation of experimentally infected dogs by LicTXNPx-ELISA and amastigote-flow cytometry.Vet Parasitol. 2008 Nov 25; 158(1-2):23-30.VP
Canine visceral leishmaniasis (CVL) is characterized by a high incidence of asymptomatic infections. Because of the high prevalence of asymptomatic dogs in the endemic areas of visceral leishmaniasis (VL), a sensitive test is required for an accurate diagnosis. In this study, we evaluated the detection of symptomatic and asymptomatic Leishmania infantum infection in dogs using the secreted LicTXNPx antigen (Leishmania infantum cytosolic tryparedoxin peroxidase) in an ELISA format and compared it to soluble Leishmania antigens from promastigote or amastigote forms (SPLA and SALA) and two other unrelated secreted Leishmania proteins (LiTXN1 and TDR1). Moreover, we evaluated the diagnostic potential using the promastigote or amastigote-flow cytometric methodologies. The assays utilized sera collected from a cohort of L. infantum experimentally infected dogs, in which the intravenous or intradermal parasite injection mimics a symptomatic or asymptomatic pattern of infection, respectively. Our study indicated that anti-LicTXNPx antibodies were present in both symptomatic and asymptomatic experimental infections. Among the different Leishmania recombinant proteins tested, LicTXNPx showed a good predictive correlation with total soluble promastigote or amastigote Leishmania antigens, suggesting this antigen as a good candidate for a marker in either symptomatic or asymptomatic infection. The use of flow cytometry using both forms of live parasites was also tested with the same group of dogs. Amastigotes were shown to have more advantages than promastigotes for the serological diagnostic in both symptomatic and asymptomatic dogs, since higher continuous levels of anti-amastigote antibodies were detected during the course of experimental infection. Moreover, additional studies were done using sera from non-infected dogs and clinically asymptomatic and symptomatic dogs with confirmed naturally occurring L. infantum infections. The sensitivities of amastigote and promastigote flow cytometry were 96% vs. 89%, respectively, while the specificity for both was 93.2%. Therefore, our findings showed for the first time the potential of amastigote-flow cytometry regarding their applicability to detect both symptomatic and asymptomatic VL canine infections.