False positive circumsporozoite protein ELISA : a challenge for the estimation of the entomological inoculation rate of malaria and for vector incrimination
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences. Pharmacy
Malaria journal. - London
, p. 195,1-195,9
Background The entomological inoculation rate (EIR) is an important indicator in estimating malaria transmission and the impact of vector control. To assess the EIR, the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to detect the circumsporozoite protein (CSP) is increasingly used. However, several studies have reported false positive results in this ELISA. The false positive results could lead to an overestimation of the EIR. The aim of present study was to estimate the level of false positivity among different anopheline species in Cambodia and Vietnam and to check for the presence of other parasites that might interact with the anti-CSP monoclonal antibodies. Methods Mosquitoes collected in Cambodia and Vietnam were identified and tested for the presence of sporozoites in head and thorax by using CSP-ELISA. ELISA positive samples were confirmed by a Plasmodium specific PCR. False positive mosquitoes were checked by PCR for the presence of parasites belonging to the Haemosporidia, Trypanosomatidae, Piroplasmida, and Haemogregarines. The heat-stability and the presence of the cross-reacting antigen in the abdomen of the mosquitoes were also checked. Results Specimens (N = 16,160) of seven anopheline species were tested by CSP-ELISA for Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax (Pv210 and Pv247). Two new vector species were identified for the region: Anopheles pampanai (P. vivax) and Anopheles barbirostris (Plasmodium malariae). In 88% (155/176) of the mosquitoes found positive with the P. falciparum CSP-ELISA, the presence of Plasmodium sporozoites could not be confirmed by PCR. This percentage was much lower (28% or 5/18) for P. vivax CSP-ELISAs. False positive CSP-ELISA results were associated with zoophilic mosquito species. None of the targeted parasites could be detected in these CSP-ELISA false positive mosquitoes. The ELISA reacting antigen of P. falciparum was heat-stable in CSP-ELISA true positive specimens, but not in the false positives. The heat-unstable cross-reacting antigen is mainly present in head and thorax and almost absent in the abdomens (4 out of 147) of the false positive specimens. Conclusion The CSP-ELISA can considerably overestimate the EIR, particularly for P. falciparum and for zoophilic species. The heat-unstable cross-reacting antigen in false positives remains unknown. Therefore it is highly recommended to confirm all positive CSP-ELISA results, either by re-analysing the heated ELISA lysate (100°C, 10 min), or by performing Plasmodium specific PCR followed if possible by sequencing of the amplicons for Plasmodium species determination.