TPHA test. Experience at the Clinic of Dermatology, University of Milan

Br J Vener Dis. 1978 Jun;54(3):151-4. doi: 10.1136/sti.54.3.151.


The results of serological investigations with the treponemal haemagglutination (TPHA) test are reported in a large number of luetic and non-luetic patients. From these the following conclusions can be drawn: (1) The sensitivity of the TPHA test is decreased if the test is carried out with micromethods; however, in our opinion, the same degree of sensitivity can be obtained either with the macromethod at dilution 1/80-1/60 or with micromethods at 1/20-1/40. (2) The sensitivity of this test is high, being similar to that of the fluorescent treponemal antibody absorption (FTA-ABS) test in primary and secondary syphilis and even higher than that of the FTA-ABS test in treated subjects. (3) The specificity of the reaction is high, as demonstrated by examining sera in patients with a negative history and clinical examination together with negative results to Treponema pallidum immobilisation (TPI) and FTA-ABS tests, and by studying biological false positive sera. (4) For the serological screening, it may be sufficient to perform the TPHA test with the 1/20-1/40 micromethod together with the Venereal Disease Research Laboratory (VDRL) test. In patients with suspected syphilis, it is advisable to perform the TPHA test by the macromethod, in combination with the FTA-ABS test.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Bacterial / analysis
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Hemagglutination Tests
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Syphilis Serodiagnosis / methods*
  • Time Factors
  • Treponema pallidum / immunology


  • Antibodies, Bacterial