Cross-reactivity studies and differential serodiagnosis of human infections caused by Trypanosoma cruzi and Leishmania spp; use of immunoblotting and ELISA with a purified antigen (Ag163B6)

Clin Exp Immunol. 1994 Sep;97(3):417-23. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2249.1994.tb06104.x.


Results of our studies on the reactivity of chagasic and leishmaniasic sera with the purified T. cruzi-specific antigen 163B6, as assessed by ELISA, and with complex antigenic mixtures from T. cruzi and Leishmania mexicana, by immunoblotting, are presented here. Our objective was to identify the antigens responsible for the exhibited cross-reactivity between trypanosomiasis and leishmaniasis, and to find a specific reactivity pattern corresponding to each parasitosis. In spite of the high cross-reactivity observed with the immunoblotting, the use of 7.5% A-B gels made it possible to identify a characteristic pattern for each parasitosis, that could be distinguished by the naked eye. The characteristic pattern corresponding to chagasic patients was ascribed to reactivity with T. cruzi bands of mol. wts 131, 125, 116, 111, 51-45 and 43 kD, that were not recognized by leishmaniasic sera. Trypanosoma cruzi antigens of mol. wts 85, 81, 70, 65-60, 37 and 32 kD were considered as crossing antigens, since they were recognized by leishmaniasis sera. With L. mexicana, most of the chagasic patients presented reaction with antigen of mol. wts 124, 107, 92, 59 and 32 kD, while bands of mol. wts 155, 140, 73, 56 and 48 kD were recognized only by leishmaniasic sera. In this study we found 12 out of 45 sera of patients with leishmaniasis, from a region endemic for both parasitoses, which exhibited a pattern of bands very similar to those corresponding to chagasic individuals, strongly suggesting a mixed infection. This hypothesis was verified by using a purified specific antigen of T. cruzi, Ag163B6, which would be the major cysteine proteinase of this specie (cruzipain). By ELISA, these 12 sera showed a positive reaction with this purified antigen, as those of chagasic patients, thus leading to the confirmation of the presence of a mixed infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Protozoan / analysis
  • Antigens, Protozoan / immunology*
  • Antigens, Protozoan / isolation & purification
  • Chagas Disease / diagnosis*
  • Chagas Disease / immunology
  • Cross Reactions / immunology
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • Leishmania mexicana / immunology*
  • Leishmaniasis, Cutaneous / diagnosis*
  • Leishmaniasis, Cutaneous / immunology
  • Molecular Weight
  • Serologic Tests
  • Trypanosoma cruzi / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Protozoan
  • Antigens, Protozoan