Aspergillus fumigatus antigens have been tested to determine their potential as aids in the diagnosis of invasive aspergillosis (IA). Immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies to these antigens were detected by analytical isoelectrofocusing in conjunction with immunoblotting. A total of 12 antigenic fractions, including culture filtrates and surface and mycelial extracts of A. fumigatus, were investigated. Eleven were reactive with serum specimens from patients with aspergilloma, which served as positive controls for the evaluation of a specific IgG response. Eight of 12 antigens showed good responses with serum specimens from patients with allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, which were used to assess the sensitivity of IgG detection. No measurable reactivity was detected in 18 negative control serum specimens, while 11 of 13 patients with proven, highly probable, or probable cases of IA had anti-Aspergillus IgG to multiple antigenic preparations. Patients with IA who were capable of mounting a substantial humoral response to Aspergillus antigens gave an antibody profile with five antigenic preparations which seemed to be characteristic of the disease. Data show that this method is highly sensitive and may allow the selection of fractions which are both highly antigenic and specific for the detection of antibodies to Aspergillus antigens. They also indicate that the use of a spectrum of antigenic molecules is advisable, given the variability observed in the immune responses of individual patients.
V. Hearn, C. Pinel, S. Blachier
Journal of Clinical Microbiology