31 mar 2022 - 15:06 CET
Comparative performance of five recombinant and chimeric antigens in a time-resolved fluorescence immunoassay for detection of Toxoplasma gondii infection in cats
Ana Huertas-López, Marinela Contreras Rojo, Woraporn Sukhumavasi, Silvia Martínez-Subiela, Gema Álvarez-García, Nadia María López-Ureña, José Joaquín Cerón, Carlos Martínez-Carrasco
Felids are definitive hosts of Toxoplasma gondii, being the only hosts that can spread the infection through oocyst shedding in their feces. The elevated presence of this parasite in the domestic cat (Felis catus), and its close contact with humans, make it necessary to obtain reliable diagnostic methods to detect positive animals as a public health measure. For this reason, in this study, the diagnostic performance of five different recombinant antigen-based techniques was assessed to diagnose T. gondii infection in cat blood plasma samples. Specifically, four T. gondii recombinant antigens (GRA7, truncated GRA7, SAG2, and truncated SAG2) and a chimeric antigen (SAG1-GRA8) were used. A time-resolved fluorescence immunoassay (TRFIA) was developed for each antigen, and the results of each of these techniques were compared with those obtained by a commercial enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA) and a modified agglutination test (MAT) as reference techniques. The TRFIA based on SAG1-GRA8 antigen showed better discrimination between seropositive and seronegative cats (p < 0.001), as well as a better area under the curve (0.95), sensitivity (93.6%), and specificity (89.5%) values for the optimal cut-off, versus the other TRFIAs. In addition, SAG1-GRA8 TRFIA showed substantial agreement (kappa value = 0.78) and a moderate significant correlation (Spearman’s correlation: r = 0.62, p < 0.001) compared with the reference techniques. On the other hand, since plasma samples were obtained from 101 cats in Bangkok city and four of them were Neospora caninum seropositive by indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFAT), this is the first time that anti-N. caninum antibodies are detected in cats in Thailand. In conclusion, our study highlights that the TRFIA with TgSAG1-GRA8 antigen is an accurate and recommended diagnostic technique for detecting anti-T. gondii antibodies in cats.