Western immunoblotting analysis of the antibody responses of patients with human monocytotropic Ehrlichiosis to different strains of ehrlichia chaffeensis and Ehrlichia canis

Sheng Min Chen, Louis C. Cullman, David Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Scopus citations


In order to evaluate the relative sensitivity of the detection of antibodies against various antigenic proteins of Ehrlichia chaffeensis for the diagnosis of the emerging infectious disease human monocytotropic ehrlichiosis, Western immunoblotting was performed with 27 serum samples from convalescent patients with antibodies, as demonstrated by indirect immunofluorescence assay, Among 22 patients with antibodies reactive with the 120-kDa protein, 15 showed reactivity with the 29/28-kDa protein(s) and the proteins in the 44- to 88-kDa range. Two of the serum samples with this pattern reacted with the 29/28-kDa protein(s) of only the 91HE17 strain, and one sample reacted with only that of the Arkansas strain, indicating that the antibodies were stimulated by strain-specific epitopes. Overall, antibodies to the 29/28-kDa protein(s) were detected in only 16 patients' sera, suggesting that this protein is less sensitive than the 120-kDa protein. Two of 12 serum samples from healthy blood donors had antibodies reactive with the 120-kDa protein; one of these samples reacted also with the 23/28 kDa protein(s) of Ehrlichia canis, suggesting that unrecognized ehrlichial infection might have occurred, including human infection with E. canis. A high correlation between reactivity with the 120-kDa protein by Western Immunoblotting and the recombinant 120-kDa protein by dot blot supports the potential usefulness of this recombinant antigen in diagnostic serology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)731-735
Number of pages5
JournalClinical and Diagnostic Laboratory Immunology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1997


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Immunology

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