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Confirmation value of Western blotting in detecting anti-treponema pallidum specific antibodies with suspicious results

  • Xu, Siqi1
  • Li, Hongsheng1
  • Wu, Xiaoyan1
  • Guo, Jianwei1
  • Zhang, Jiaoli1
  • Hu, Xuqi1
  • 1 The Second Hospital of Jiaxing, No. 1518, Huancheng North Road, Nanhu District, Jiaxing, Zhejiang, 314000, China , Jiaxing (China)
Published Article
European Journal of Medical Research
BioMed Central
Publication Date
Feb 02, 2022
DOI: 10.1186/s40001-022-00633-y
Springer Nature
  • Research


BackgroundDue to the inconsistent results of anti-treponema pallidum (TP) specific antibodies by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and Treponema pallidum granule agglutination assay (TPPA) in clinical work, there will be a certain proportion of false-positives and false-negatives depending on TPPA as confirmation results. This study aimed to evaluate the necessity of Western blotting (WB) in samples with inconsistent results in detecting anti-TP antibodies by ELISA and TPPA.MethodsSpecific anti-TP test results in our clinical laboratory were retrospectively analyzed. The specimens with a positive or a negative result, but with colored ELISA plates, were retested by TPPA. WB was used to confirm the suspicious results between ELISA and TPPA. The Chi-square test was used to analyze whether the difference was statistically significant.ResultsA total of 106,757 anti-TP specimens were screened by ELISA from August 2018 to December 2019; 3972 were retested by TPPA, and 3809 were positive by TPPA. ELISA and TPPA showed different results in 163 specimens. Among them, 29 specimens were negative and 134 were positive by ELISA; 76 were negative, 23 were positive, and 64 were “reserve” by TPPA; 93 were negative, 31 were positive, and 39 were suspicious by the WB confirmation test. Compared with WB, the difference in the results of ELISA and TPPA was statistically significant.ConclusionsTPPA is an effective retest method for anti-TP antibody detection. If the results of anti-TP antibodies by ELISA and TPPA are inconsistent, it is necessary to use WB for confirmation.Trial registration This retrospective analysis is in accordance with the ethical guidelines of China and approved by the second hospital of Jiaxing (jxey-2018048).

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