Estimation of the Avidity of Immunoglobulin G for Routine Diagnosis of Chronic Toxoplasma Gondii Infection in Pregnant Women

Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 1998 Jan;17(1):32-6. doi: 10.1007/BF01584360.


Present serological methods differentiate poorly between acute and chronic toxoplasmosis in pregnant women, particularly when immunoglobulin G (IgG) and immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii are present simultaneously. In the present study, a simple test for discriminating between high-avidity antibodies, which are usually present in chronic infections, and low-avidity antibodies, typical of acute infection, was evaluated. Sera were evaluated for Toxoplasma gondii antibodies using a commercial enzyme immunoassay, but a duplicate well was washed in 6M urea to disrupt low-avidity complexes. Results are expressed as the percentage of antibodies resisting elution by urea. Equivocal sera (n = 493) containing both IgG and IgM Toxoplasma gondii antibodies from 309 pregnant women whose status as chronically or acutely infected had been independently determined using standard methods were evaluated for antibody avidity. A value of > 35% elution-resistant antibodies was always associated with chronic infection and could absolutely exclude a recent (< 3 months) infectious incident. Values of < 35% require repeat testing four weeks later to confirm the patient's status, since a proportion of individuals with chronic toxoplasmosis maintain low-avidity antibodies over long periods. This inexpensive, simple method can provide reassurance to clearly chronically infected individuals and avoids the need for repeated testing in these cases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Protozoan / blood*
  • Antibodies, Protozoan / immunology
  • Antibody Affinity*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood*
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology
  • Immunoglobulin M / blood
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Parasitic / diagnosis*
  • Pregnancy Complications, Parasitic / immunology
  • ROC Curve
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic
  • Toxoplasma / immunology*
  • Toxoplasmosis / diagnosis*
  • Toxoplasmosis / immunology


  • Antibodies, Protozoan
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin M
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic