Utility of immunoblotting for early diagnosis of toxoplasmosis seroconversion in pregnant women

Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2011 Nov;18(11):1908-12. doi: 10.1128/CVI.05303-11. Epub 2011 Aug 31.


Congenital transmission of Toxoplasma gondii occurs mainly when a mother acquires the infection for the first time during pregnancy. It was recently shown that although early treatment of the primary infection during pregnancy has little or no impact on the fetomaternal transmission rate, it does reduce the incidence of sequelae in infected infants. Seroconversion is defined by the appearance of IgG. Commercial reagents continue to vary considerably in detecting low concentrations of antibodies, as during early seroconversion. We compared two routinely used immunoassays (IA) (Platelia and Elecsys Toxo IgG) and an indirect immunofluorescence assay (IIF) with a qualitative test based on immunoblot analysis (Toxo II IgG) (IB) to assess their abilities to diagnose seroconversion at its earliest stages. This prospective study was carried out between January and November 2010. It included 39 pregnant women with monthly follow-up who seroconverted during pregnancy. On first sera that were IgM positive but IgG negative (or equivocal) as detected by IA, IB diagnosed seroconversion twice as often as IIF (26/39 [66.7%] versus 13/39 [33.3%]; P < 0.001; χ(2) test). Serum samples were retaken 2 to 5 weeks later for the other 13 cases (IgG negative by IB on first serum). Seroconversion was demonstrated as follows: IB for 5 cases where IA remained negative or equivocal, IB and IIF for 5 cases where IA remained negative or equivocal, IA for 2 cases, and no method for 1 case (a third sample was necessary). In summary, IB permitted toxoplasmosis seroconversion diagnosis before other means in 92.3% of cases (36/39) and thus earlier therapeutic intervention.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Protozoan / blood*
  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques / methods*
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect / methods
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting / methods*
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Immunoglobulin M / blood
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / diagnosis*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Toxoplasma / immunology*
  • Toxoplasmosis / diagnosis*


  • Antibodies, Protozoan
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin M