Francisca Grill

Development of a quantitative antigen assay to detect coccidioidal chitinase-1 (CTS1) in human serum

Francisca Grill, Arizona State University, Graduate Student

Background Coccidioidomycosis is often diagnosed with a collection of tests that rely on the patient's ability to mount an immune response to the fungus (antibody-based diagnostics), making diagnosis of this infection challenging. Here we present an antigen-based assay that detects and quantifies coccidioidal chitinase-1 (CTS1) in human serum.

Methods An inhibition-based enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA) was developed that utilizes a monoclonal antibody specific for coccidioidal CTS1. CTS1 was quantified in commercial antigen preparations using recombinant CTS1 as a standard. Sera from 192 individuals from an endemic area were tested which included 78 patients (40.6%) with proven or probable coccidioidomycosis.

Results The quantity of CTS1 in diagnostic commercial antigen preparations from different suppliers varied. CTS1 antigenemia was detected in 87.2% of patients with proven or probable coccidioidomycosis. Specificity was determined to be 96.94% using serum from individuals who reside in the Phoenix, Arizona area who did not have coccidioidomycosis. Levels of CTS1 correlated with low- and high-titer serology from patients with a coccidioidomycosis diagnosis.

Conclusions Since the CTS1 inhibition ELISA described in this report does not depend on the host immune response, it is a promising diagnostic tool to aid in diagnosis and disease monitoring of coccidioidomycosis.

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