A synthetic peptide ELISA for the screening of rubella virus neutralizing antibodies in order to ascertain immunity

J Immunol Methods. 2004 Apr;287(1-2):1-11. doi: 10.1016/j.jim.2003.12.011.


One hundred and fifty-one human sera from patients exposed to rubella virus (RV) and shown to be negative for IgM antibodies were tested for total RV-IgG, hemagglutination inhibition (HAI) and for virus neutralizing (VN) antibodies using a peptide enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) based on BCH-178, a peptide representing one of several known neutralizing epitopes on RV hemagglutinin (E1). The data showed that, among 39 and 51 sera with HAI and RV-IgG titres of 1/128 and >150 IU/ml, respectively, neutralizing antibody readings using the BCH-178 ELISA were above cut-off values. However, 13% of HAI positive sera (titre > or =1/16) and 16% of RV-IgG ELISA positive sera (> or =20 IU/ml) were below the cut-off value of the BCH-178 ELISA. This may explain why several cases of congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) have been observed in spite of positive titres. We suggest that a diagnosis of sufficient immunity against RV infection or reinfection may be safer if an additional test detecting antibodies against VN RV epitopes is positive as well.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / methods*
  • Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte / chemistry
  • Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte / immunology
  • Female
  • Hemagglutination Inhibition Tests
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peptides / immunology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Rubella virus / immunology*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / chemistry
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte
  • Peptides
  • Viral Envelope Proteins
  • rubella antibodies
  • E1 envelope protein, Rubella virus