Combined use of serum and urinary antibody for diagnosis of tuberculosis

J Infect Dis. 2003 Aug 1;188(3):371-7. doi: 10.1086/376532. Epub 2003 Jul 15.


Efforts to devise immunoassays for tuberculosis (TB) that can be adapted to rapid formats are ongoing. The present study was aimed at determining whether urinary anti-Mycobacterium tuberculosis antibodies are present in patients with TB, to evaluate the feasibility of developing a urine antibody-based diagnostic test. Urinary antibodies directed against the culture filtrate proteins of M. tuberculosis, MPT 32, and the 81-kDa GlcB protein were detectable in patients with TB, although the sensitivity of antibody detection was lower (53%-64%), compared with serum antibodies (68%-77%). Surprisingly, with all 3 antigens, the use of paired serum and urine samples provided higher sensitivities of antibody detection than either single specimen, and anti-GlcB antibodies were present in the serum and/or urine of 39 (90%) of 43 smear-positive patients with TB. Although, with the current methods and antigens, the level of sensitivity is insufficient to design a urinary antibody diagnostic test, these studies provide the foundation for further studies on the development of a urine antibody-based immunoassay for TB.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Bacterial* / blood
  • Antibodies, Bacterial* / urine
  • Antigens, Bacterial / analysis
  • Antigens, Bacterial / immunology
  • Bacterial Proteins / analysis
  • Bacterial Proteins / immunology
  • Female
  • Glycoproteins / analysis
  • Glycoproteins / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / immunology
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / isolation & purification*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tuberculosis / blood
  • Tuberculosis / diagnosis*
  • Tuberculosis / urine


  • 45-47 kDa antigen complex, Mycobacterium
  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Glycoproteins
  • Mtb81 protein, Mycobacterium tuberculosis