Direct agglutination test for Encephalitozoon cuniculi. Academic Article uri icon


  • Encephalitozoon cuniculi is a small protozoan parasite in the phylum Microspora. It has been shown to naturally infect several host species, including humans. Infection with microsporidia is usually asymptomatic, except in young or immunocompromised hosts. Currently, serological diagnosis of infection is made using the indirect immunofluorescent antibody assay (IFA) or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Although these methods are sensitive and reliable, there are several drawbacks to the IFA and ELISA tests. Cross-reactivity between other Encephalitozoon species is common, and specialized equipment is required to conduct these tests. This paper reports the development of a direct agglutination test for detecting IgG antibodies to E. cuniculi. The utility of the agglutination test was examined in CD-1 and C3H/He mice infected with E. cuniculi or one of 2 other Encephalitozoon species. Test sera were incubated overnight with eosin-stained microsporidia spores in round-bottom microtiter plates. In positive samples, agglutination of spores with antibodies in test sera resulted in an opaque mat spread across the well. The results indicate that the agglutination test is 86% sensitive and 98% specific for E. cuniculi, with limited cross-reactivity to Encephalitozoon intestinalis. No cross-reactivity to Encephalitozoon hellem was observed. The test is fast and easy to conduct, and species-specific antibodies are not required.

published proceedings

  • Vet Parasitol

author list (cited authors)

  • Jordan, C. N., Zajac, A. M., Snowden, K. S., & Lindsay, D. S.

citation count

  • 18

complete list of authors

  • Jordan, Carly N||Zajac, Anne M||Snowden, Karen S||Lindsay, David S

publication date

  • February 2006