American journal of clinical pathology

Comparative studies of three serologic methods for the measurement of Mycoplasma pneumoniae antibodies.

PMID 2672779


Antibodies against Mycoplasma pneumoniae in the sera of patients and normal adult controls were measured by a standard complement fixation (CF) test, a commercial immunofluorescence (IF) test (CROWNTITRE), and a commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) (MYCOPLASMELISA). The findings showed that, in the control sera, 269 of 277 (97%) had negative results for CF antibodies. Of the 320 controls tested by the IF assay, all (100%) had negative results for IgM antibodies and 314 (98%) had negative results for IgG antibodies. Only 6 of the 201 (3%) controls by the ELISA were classified as negative/equivocal. Among the 450 patient sera, 105 (23%) had positive results for CF antibodies, and 158 (35%) had positive results for IgG and/or IgM membrane antibodies by the IF test; 424 of these patients' sera were also tested by the ELISA, and 397 (94%) of them were found to have positive results for anti-M. pneumoniae IgG antibodies. If the CF test were chosen as the standard for comparison, the IF test would have a sensitivity of 87% and a specificity of 81% and the ELISA would have a sensitivity of 71% and a specificity of 80%, provided an adjustment in the threshold ELISA-positive value was made. A single positive M. pneumoniae membrane IgM antibody titer appeared to be valuable for a presumptive diagnosis of an ongoing infection; 41 of 47 (87%) of the IgM-positive results in the paired sera were supported by a fourfold increase or a stable high level of CF antibody titer.