Original Article

The rK39 Antigen from an Iranian Strain of Leishmania infantum: Detection of Anti-Leishmania Antibodies in Humans and Dogs


Background: Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is the most severe form of leishmaniasis in Iran with high mortality rates in the case of inaccurate diagnosis and treatment. This study aimed to prepare and evaluate a new rk39 recombinant antigen from an Iranian strain of Leishmania infantum for diagnosis of VL in humans and dogs.

Methods: rK39-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was compared with the direct agglutination test (DAT) for the detection of anti L. infantum antibodies. We screened 84 human sera and 87 dog sera from clinical cases in the endemic area of Meshkin-Shahr, Iran along with 176 sera from healthy controls (collected from 86 humans and 90 dogs) during 2013 -2016.

Results: Using the rK39 ELISA, a sensitivity of 85.7% (95% CI, 95-99%) and a specificity of 86.0% (95% CI, 95%-99%) were detected in human sera at a 1:800 (cut-off) titer when DAT-confirmed cases were compared with healthy controls; a sensitivity of 96.6% (95% CI, 95%-99%) and specificity of 94.4% (95% CI, 95%-99%) were found at a 1:80 (cut-off) titer compared with DAT. Kappa analysis indicated agreement between the rK39 ELISA and DAT (0.718) when using human sera at a 1:800 (cut-off) titer as well as (0.910) at a 1:80 (cut-off) titer when using dog sera (P<0.05).

Conclusion: New rk39 recombinant antigen from an Iranian strain of Leishmania infantum seems to be used for diagnosis of VL in humans and dogs. Further extended field studies are recommended.

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IssueVol 15 No 1 (2020) QRcode
SectionOriginal Article(s)
DOI https://doi.org/10.18502/ijpa.v15i1.2526
rK39 recombinant anti-gen Leishmania infantum Visceral leishmaniasis Human Dog

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HOSSEINI FARASH BR, MOHEBALI M, KAZEMI B, HAJJARAN H, FATA A, RAOOFIAN R, AKHOUNDI B, MOJARRAD M, MASTROENI P, SHARIFI-YAZDI MK, TANIPOUR MH. The rK39 Antigen from an Iranian Strain of Leishmania infantum: Detection of Anti-Leishmania Antibodies in Humans and Dogs. Iran J Parasitol. 2020;15(1):48-56.