Sera from 35 patients with acute pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) with and without Chlamydia trachomatis confirmed by culture and sera from 19 control patients with neither evidence of pelvic infection nor C trachomatis infection were studied for the presence of serum IgG, IgA, and IgM antibodies to C trachomatis using enzyme immunoassay (EIA) and immunoblotting techniques. There was no correlation between the antibody concentrations in the EIA and the spread of chlamydial infection, as determined by cervical, endometrial, and laparoscopic sampling for chlamydia. The immunoblot analysis showed antibodies to the major outer membrane protein (MOMP) of C trachomatis elementary bodies in all patients who had had C trachomatis isolated. Reactivity was also frequently observed against the 68, 62, 60, 45, and 31 kilodalton antigens. About 20 antigenic polypeptides were identified. Differences in antibody prevalence to specific chlamydial antigens, however, were not related to the site of chlamydial isolation or serum antibody concentrations observed with the EIA. The results indicate that patients with PID with and without upper genital tract infection with C trachomatis cannot be differentiated by reactivity of sera to specific chlamydial polypeptide antigens. The determination of a specific serum IgA antibody response by EIA was the most effective single test to discriminate between patients with and without acute chlamydial infection.
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