The distribution of Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B and C polysaccharide antigen in blood and the prognostic significance of antigen concentration was examined by ultrasound-enhanced immunoagglutination of coated microparticles. Specimens (169 sera/plasma from 145 patients with confirmed meningococcal disease) were tested retrospectively. The ultrasonic immunoassay detected serum antigen in 136 samples from 112 patients. Titration of antigen-positive specimens allowed estimation of blood antigen concentration. The modal blood antigen titre was 1/16, corresponding to an estimated polysaccharide concentration of 0.85 μg/ml. The lowest mean blood antigen concentration found ultrasonically was 0.05 μg/ml; compared to the 1.98 μg/ml found by conventional latex agglutination, this represents an approximately 30-fold improvement in sensitivity. Three grades of outcome were correlated with the presenting antigen titre in 83 patients: (i) < 2 weeks hospitalisation, (ii) ≥ 2 weeks hospitalisation and (iii) mortality. High polysaccharide concentrations correlated with mortality. Nine of 15 patients with a serum antigen titre of 1/64 or greater (≥ 3.4 μg/ml polysaccharide) died, whereas no patient with titres equal to or less than 1/4 (≤ 0.21 μg/ml) died, including those patients in whom antigen was undetectable by ultrasonic immunoassay. Increasing antigen concentration significantly correlated with severity of outcome (P < 0.001). Ultrasound-enhanced agglutination provides a rapid prognostic indicator by sensitive measurement of serum antigen level.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||European Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases|
|Publication status||Published - 2000|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Acknowledgements The authors are grateful to the Meningitis Research Foundation (UK) for support and in part the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (UK) Analytical Biotechnology Initiative.