Use of glycopeptidolipid core antigen for serodiagnosis of mycobacterium avium complex pulmonary disease in immunocompetent patients

Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2005 Jan;12(1):44-51. doi: 10.1128/CDLI.12.1.44-51.2005.


We report the development of a serodiagnostic method for Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) disease with an enzyme immunoassay (EIA) with the MAC-specific glycopeptidolipid (GPL) core as the antigen. In this study, we confirmed by EIA that the GPL core antibody was in the sera of immunocompetent patients with MAC disease. The EIA for quantifying the GPL core antibody was evaluated as a clinical tool for serodiagnosis of pulmonary MAC disease. A significant increase in GPL core antibodies (immunoglobulins G, A, and M) was detected in sera of patients with MAC pulmonary diseases when they were compared to patients who were colonized with MAC, patients with Mycobacterium kansasii disease or tuberculosis, and healthy subjects. The sensitivities and specificities of the GPL core-based EIA for diagnosis of MAC pulmonary disease were 72.6% and 92.2%, respectively, for IgG, 92.5% and 95.1%, respectively, for IgA, and 78.3% and 91.0%, respectively, for IgM. The best sensitivity and specificity were obtained by measuring immunoglobulin A antibodies against GPL core antigen. The level of GPL core antibodies reflected disease activity, since it decreased in cured MAC patients who had responded to chemotherapy. Measurement of serum antibodies against GPL core is useful for both diagnosis and assessment of disease activity in MAC disease of the lung.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood*
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / immunology
  • Antigens, Bacterial / immunology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunocompetence
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycobacterium avium / immunology
  • Mycobacterium avium Complex / immunology*
  • Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare Infection / diagnosis*
  • Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare Infection / drug therapy
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Antigens, Bacterial