Antibody response to a major humanPneumocystis carinii surface antigen in patients without evidence of immunosuppression and in patients with suspected atypical pneumonia

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Abstract

IgG and IgM antibodies to a purified humanPneumocystis carinii surface antigen (gp95) were measured in 694 serum specimens from two different population groups using an EIA technique. In a population of 441 patients with no evidence of immunosuppression, the percentage of persons positive for IgG antibodies to gp95 was significantly lower in the age group 1 to 9 years (30 %, 23/77) compared to persons 10 to 19 years old (56 %, 49/88). In the age group 1 to 14 years there was a significant correlation between the percentage of persons with IgG antibodies to gp95 and age. In 106 consecutive patients under evaluation due to atypical pneumonia, 76 patients showed no change in the titre of antibodies toLegionella spp. orMycoplasma pneumoniae in two consecutive serum samples. Three of these 76 patients (4 %) demonstrated an increase in the level of IgG antibodies to gp95 in the paired samples. One of these patients had a verifiedPneumocystis carinii pneumonia, and the two others were elderly men in whom no microbiological diagnosis of the pneumonia was established. Thus, it is concluded that IgG antibodies to gp95 develop in the majority of nonimmunosuppressed persons before the age of 13. Furthermore,Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia should be considered in the differential diagnosis in patients suspected of having atypical pneumonia.