Objectives: We evaluated the use of treponemal serum tests in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to diagnose neurosyphilis since CSF-Venereal Disease Research Laboratory (VDRL) is specific but lacks sensitivity.
Methods: We tested CSF specimens using the following treponemal serum tests: INNO-LIA, Treponema pallidum particle agglutination (TP-PA), Trep-Sure, and Maxi-Syph. The reference standard to calculate sensitivity and specificity was having two or more reactive/positive tests on CSF.
Results: The reference standard group included 11 cases that fulfilled the definition of neurosyphilis (reactive CSF-VDRL plus symptoms) and three cases that did not fulfill the definition: two cases had neurologic symptoms but a nonreactive CSF-VDRL, and one had several positive CSF syphilis tests (reactive VDRL and positive treponemal and syphilis polymerase chain reaction) but no history (referred sample). Controls included 18 patients in whom a CSF-VDRL was performed the same week as patients in the reference group. The sensitivity was 85.7% (12/14) for CSF-VDRL, 92.9% (13/14) for Trep-Sure, 100% (10/10) for Maxi-Syph, 92.3% (12/13) for INNO-LIA, and 83.3% (10/12) for TP-PA. Specificity was 100% for all tests.
Conclusions: Treponemal serum tests performed on CSF were useful in identifying two patients with nonreactive CSF-VDRL.
Keywords: Cerebrospinal fluid; Neurosyphilis; Treponemal tests; VDRL.
Copyright© by the American Society for Clinical Pathology.