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Kinetics of circulating antibody response to Trichomonas vaginalis: clinical and diagnostic implications
  1. Phuong Anh Ton Nu1,
  2. Paola Rappelli2,
  3. Daniele Dessì2,
  4. Vu Quoc Huy Nguyen3,
  5. Pier Luigi Fiori2
  1. 1Department of Parasitology, Huè University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Huè City, Vietnam
  2. 2Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Sassari, Sassari, Italy
  3. 3Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Huè University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Huè City, Vietnam
  1. Correspondence to Dr Pier Luigi Fiori, Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Sassari, Viale S. Pietro 43B, Sassari 07100, Italy; fioripl{at}


Objectives Persistence of antibodies against pathogens after antimicrobial treatment is a marker of therapy failure or evolution to a chronic infection. The kinetics of antibody production decrease following antigen elimination is highly variable, and predicting the duration of soluble immunity in infectious diseases is often impossible. This hampers the development and use of immunoassays for diagnostic and seroepidemiological purposes. In the case of Trichomonas vaginalis infection, the kinetics of antibody levels decrease following therapy has never been studied. We thus investigated the clearance of circulating anti-T. vaginalis IgGs after pharmacological treatment in patients affected by trichomoniasis.

Methods 18 female patients affected by acute trichomoniasis were enrolled in this study. After metronidazole therapy administration, subjects were followed up monthly up to 5 months, and serum levels of anti-T. vaginalis IgGs were measured by ELISA.

Results We showed that a successful therapy is characterised by a relatively fast decline of specific antibodies, until turning into negative by ELISA in 1–3 months. In a few patients we observed that the persistence of anti-T. vaginalis antibodies was associated with an evolution to chronic infection, which may be due to treatment failure or to reinfection by untreated sexual partners.

Conclusions Our results describe the direct correlation between the decline of a specific humoral anti-T. vaginalis response and an effective antimicrobial therapy. These findings may facilitate the follow-up approach to circumvent limitations in developing new diagnostic tools and techniques routinely used in microbiology laboratories to assess the presence of T. vaginalis in clinical samples.


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