The 41 distinct antigenic types of adenoviruses (Ads) are responsible for a broad spectrum of diseases in humans. We have developed an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) using adenovirus (Ad) infected MRC-5 cells for detecting IgG and IgM antibodies to Ads. Using the ELISA, we detected IgG antibodies in 100% ( 20 20) of sera from normal adults (geometric mean titer, GMT = 1840.8, range = 40-20,480) and IgM antibodies in 3 of 20 sera (15%) with a GMT of 25.1. Our indirect immunofluorescence (IF) technique also detected IgG antibodies in 100%) of these sera (GMT = 248.3, range = 40-5,120) and IgM antibodies in the 3 samples reactive in ELISA (GMT = 20.0, range = < 5-40). In contrast, the complement fixation (CF) test detected antibodies to Ads in only 65% ( 13 20) of these sera (GMT = 10.9, range = < 4-32). Moreover, IgG and IgM responses could not be distinguished using CF. Thus the sensitivity of these three techniques is greatest for ELISA. Additionally, a study of sequential sera from 3 patients with acute Ad infection disclosed seroconversion using all three methods. Both the ELISA and IF techniques permit the detection of transition from IgM to IgG, whereas CF only detects conversion from seronegativity to seropositivity. Finally, preliminary data suggest that the IgM response as measured by ELISA is specific for subgroups or types of Ad. This newly devised ELISA may be useful for detecting Ad infections.
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