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A comparative study of Toxoplasma gondii seroprevalence in three healthy Chinese populations detected using native and recombinant antigens

Xiaojing Sun, Huijun Lu, Boyin Jia, Zhiguang Chang, Shuai Peng, Jigang Yin, Qijun Chen* and Ning Jiang*

Author Affiliations

Key Laboratory of Zoonosis, Ministry of Education, Jilin University, Xi’an Da Lu 5333, Changchun 5333, China

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Parasites & Vectors 2013, 6:241  doi:10.1186/1756-3305-6-241

Published: 20 August 2013

Abstract

Background

Toxoplasmosis is one of the most common parasitic zoonoses. The seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection in humans varies widely worldwide. Detection of Toxoplasma-specific antibodies has been a gold standard method for both epidemiological investigation and clinical diagnosis. Genetic investigation indicated that there is a wide distribution of different genome types or variants of the parasite prevalent in different areas. Thus the reliability of using antigens from parasites of a single genome type for diagnosis and epidemiology purposes needs to be extensively evaluated.

Methods

In this study, the prevalence of T. gondii infection among 880 clinically healthy individuals in China was systematically tested using crude soluble native antigens and purified recombinant antigens of type I and II T. gondii. The T. gondii-specific IgG and IgM in the sera was further confirmed using commercial Toxoplasmosis Diagnosis Kits and Western blot assays.

Results

The sero-prevalence of T. gondii-specific IgG detected with crude native Type I and type II antigens was 12.2% and 11.3% respectively. Whereas the overall prevalence was more than 20% when combined with the results obtained with recombinant tachyzoite and bradyzoite antigens. There was an obvious variation in immune-recognition of parasite antigens among the individuals studied.

Conclusions

The general prevalence of anti-T. gondii IgG in the study population was likely much higher than previously reported. The data also suggested that there is more genetic diversity among the T. gondii isolates in China. Further, combination of recombinant antigens with clear immuno-recognition will be able to generate more sensitive diagnostic results than those obtained with crude antigens of T. gondii tachyzoites.

Keywords:
Toxoplasma gondii; Prevalence; Antigens; China