Comparison of eleven commercial tests for Chlamydia pneumoniae-specific immunoglobulin G in asymptomatic healthy individuals

Corinna Hermann, Kathrin Graf, Annemarie Groh, Eberhard Straube, Thomas Hartung

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50 Scopus citations


The seroprevalence of anti-Chlamydia pneumoniae-specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies is high in the adult population. Experience is required to perform a microimmunofluorescence test (MIF), the current "gold standard" for serological diagnosis, and the assay still lacks standardization. Partially automated enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) and enzyme immunoassays (EIAs), which are more standardized and for which the reading of results is less subjective, have been developed. The different commercially available serological tests differ in their sensitivities and specificities, depending primarily on the antigen used. Therefore, we evaluated 11 different tests (10 were species specific, 1 was genus specific) for IgG antibodies using serum samples of 80 apparently healthy volunteers. The interpretation of the results was based on the results of the gold standard, MIF: a sample was judged positive if it was positive by at least three of the four different MIFs. Based on this internal standard, we found that 71% of the samples were positive, while 8% were false positive by some tests. The correlations between the results of the different MIFs ranged from 83 to 99%, and the correlations between the results of the MIFs and the different ELISAs and EIAs ranged from 78 to 98%. Comparison of the IgG titers measured by MIF showed good agreement (r = 0.76 to 0.91). This analysis revealed that some ELISAs and EIAs fail to detect low IgG titers. The specificities of the species -specific tests varied from 95 to 100%, and the sensitivities varied from 58 to 100%. These results indicate that serological assays for the detection of anti-C. pneumoniae-specific IgG vary greatly in their sensitivities and specificities. MIF must still be considered the best method for the detection of IgG in apparently healthy subjects, but the sensitivities and specificities of new ELISAs approximate those of MIFs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1603-1609
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of clinical microbiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)


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