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Sero-Diagnosis of Mycobacterium avium Complex Lung Disease Using Serum Immunoglobulin A Antibody against Glycopeptidolipid Antigen in Taiwan
  • Published Date:
    Nov 18 2013
  • Source:
    PLoS One. 2013; 8(11).
Filetype[PDF-693.96 KB]

  • Alternative Title:
    PLoS One
  • Description:

    Lung disease (LD) due to non-tuberculous mycobacteria is an important clinical concern. Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) is one of the most common causative agents but the diagnosis of MAC-LD remains challenging. Detection of serum IgA antibody against MAC glycopeptidolipid (GPL) has recently been shown to improve the diagnosis of MAC-LD, but has yet to be validated worldwide.


    This prospective study was conducted in a tertiary referral center in northern Taiwan and enrolled patients with MAC-LD, MAC contamination, other lung diseases, and control subjects. Serum immunoglobulin A (IgA) antibody against MAC-GPL was detected in the participants and its specificity and sensitivity was assessed.


    There were 56 patients with MAC-LD, 11 with MAC contamination, 13 M. kansasii-LD, 26 LD due to rapidly-growing mycobacteria (RGM), 48 pulmonary tuberculosis, and 42 household contacts of patients with TB. Patients with MAC-LD were older and 32% of them had an underlying co-morbidity. By logistic regression, serum MAC-GPL IgA level was an independent predictor of MAC-LD among the study subjects and those with culture-positive specimens for MAC. By the receiver operating characteristic curve, serum MAC-GPL IgA had a good power to discriminate MAC-LD from MAC contamination. Under the optimal cut-off value of 0.73 U/mL, its sensitivity and specificity were 60% and 91%, respectively. Among MAC-LD patients, presence of co-morbidity was associated with MAC-GPL <0.73 U/ml in logistic regression analysis.


    Measurement of serum anti-MAC-GPL IgA level is useful for the diagnosis of MAC-LD. However, its implement in clinical practice for immuno-compromised hosts needs careful consideration.

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