A latex cryptococcal antigen agglutination test for diagnosis and monitoring of therapy for cryptococcosis

R. Malik, R. McPetrie, D. I. Wigney, A. J. Craig, D. N. Love

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81 Scopus citations

Abstract

A latex cryptococcal antigen agglutination test (LCAT) was performed on sera obtained during the first 14 days of treatment from 58 animals (46 cats, 9 dogs, 2 koalas and 1 long billed corella) with cryptococcosis. The same commercial kit was used for all samples, and most serum samples were treated with pronase before testing. Sera from all 58 cases tested positive with the qualitative LCAT protocol (using undiluted sera), while sera from all 26 cats without cryptococcosis tested negative. Titres determined using the quantitative protocol ranged from 1 to ≥ 131 072 (median titre between 2048 and 4096), with 57 of 58 cases (including all 8 animals that presented for neurological signs) having titres ≥ 2 and thus considered positive according to the manufacturers recommendations. The LCAT titre was positively correlated with disease severity (r = 0.4169; P = 0.0011), and patients with disseminated skin and/or lymph node involvement had significantly higher titres than those diat did not (P = 0.0157). The presence of neurological signs, the species of the patient, concurrent viral disease (in cats) and the biotype of the isolate had no significant association with the LCAT titre. Cats diat died of active cryptococcosis despite treatment did not have significantly higher titres (P = 0.3010) than those that responded to treatment. Sequential LCAT determinations obtained in 37 patients during treatment provided a useful quantitative indication of clinical progress, although the decline in titre lagged somewhat behind clinical improvement. Generally, the antigen titre declined by 2 to 4 fold per month during successful therapy. Although there are insufficent data to make unequivocal recommendations, we suggest that either antifungal therapy be continued until the LCAT titre declines to less than 1, or therapy be discontinued after a 32 fold or greater reduction in titre, with periodic monitoring of the serum antigen titre. Treatment of serum samples with pronase substantially increased the sensitivity of the LCAT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-364
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian Veterinary Journal
Volume74
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

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