Detection of immunoglobulin M and G antibodies against cytomegalovirus early and late antigens by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay

J M Middeldorp, J Jongsma, A ter Haar, J Schirm, T H The

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A sensitive and reproducible enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) is described for the detection of immunoglobulin M and antibodies with specifity for human cytomegalovirus (CMV) early (CMV-EA) and late (CMV-LA) antigens. The emphasis is on the production of high-quality CMV antigens, CMV-EA and CMV-LA separately, and conditions for their application in the ELISA. The induction of CMV-EA and -LA in infected cell extracts was studied in detail by using human sera with defined antibody specificity for CMV-EA and CMV-LA. This resulted in the development of a simple whole cell extraction procedure that provided a high yield of CMV antigens with reproducible antigen quality. The antigens were specific for the detection of anti-CMV antibodies. The influence of autoantibodies on the determination of CMV-specific antibodies was investigated. Parallel analysis of 322 human sera by indirect immunofluorescence and ELISA showed a high correlation between both assays (r = 0.9674 for CMV-EA and 0.9362 for CMV-LA). Antibody titers determined by ELISA were equal to (for CMV-EA) or slightly higher (for CMV-LA) that those determined by immunofluorescence but significantly higher (20- to 5,120-fold) than those determined by complement fixation. From 191 sera positive by ELISA (titer greater than or equal to 40) 4 (2.1%) were negative by immunofluorescence (titer less than 40), and from 61 ELISA-positive sera 12 (19.6%) were negative (titer less than 8) when tested by complement fixation. Consequently, ELISA for CMV may prove to be more reliable for the selection of CMV-seronegative blood donors than these other methods. The use of high-quality antigens allows more economic handling of large-scale serum determinations. Possibilities for further automation are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)763-71
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1984


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Antigens, Viral
  • Complement Fixation Tests
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Epitopes
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin M
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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