Performance of five serological chlamydia antibody tests in subfertile women

Hum Reprod. 2003 Dec;18(12):2621-7. doi: 10.1093/humrep/deg479.


Background: Micro-immunofluorescence (MIF) is widely used for chlamydia antibody testing (CAT). Recently a species-specific MIF and three enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) tests have been introduced. We compared five commercially available CAT tests, using laparoscopy as a reference, and evaluated whether combinations of tests could improve the predictive value of CAT.

Methods: In a consecutive cohort of 315 subfertile women, results of the five CAT tests were correlated to findings at laparoscopy. Likelihood and odds ratios (OR) were calculated for single tests and for combinations of tests.

Results: Of the tests evaluated, MIF Labsystems had the best diagnostic performance (OR 15.7), while pELISA Medac (OR 8.2) was the best of the three ELISA tests. Stepwise logistic regression analysis showed that performance of MIF Labsystems could not be improved by adding a second test. Significant cross-reactivity with C. pneumoniae antibodies was found in all tests evaluated, except in pELISA Medac.

Conclusions: In screening for tubal factor subfertility, MIF Labsystems was superior to the ELISA tests evaluated, and combining two CAT tests did not improve its predictive value. Economic analysis will show whether serial testing by pELISA Medac, and retesting positive samples by MIF Labsystems, is most cost-effective. In CAT, cross-reactivity with C. pneumoniae antibodies is still a major concern.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood*
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Chlamydia Infections / diagnosis*
  • Chlamydia trachomatis / immunology*
  • Chlamydophila pneumoniae / immunology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / microbiology*
  • Laparoscopy
  • Logistic Models
  • Odds Ratio
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic* / economics
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic