AIMS: To evaluate the performance of an immunoperoxidase stain using the monoclonal antibody EB-A1 to detect Aspergillus species in formalin fixed, paraffin wax embedded tissue. METHODS: The monoclonal antibody EB-A1 directed against galactomannan was used to detect Aspergillus species in 23 patients with suspected or confirmed invasive aspergillosis. Immunostaining was performed on formalin fixed, paraffin wax embedded tissue using the streptavidin-biotin method and compared with conventional haematoxylin and eosin, periodic acid-Schiff, and Gomori-Grocott stains. Results of immunostaining were semiquantitatively analysed with regard to both intensity of staining and number of positively staining micro-organisms. Tissue sections from 16 patients with confirmed invasive mycoses due to Candida species, Apophysomyces elegans, Rhizopus oryzae, Pseudallescheria boydii and Histoplasma capsulatum were used as controls. RESULTS: In 19 (83%) of 23 cases invasive aspergillosis was confirmed by both histological examination and culture (18 Aspergillus fumigatus and one A flavus). Immunoperoxidase stains were positive in 17 (89%) of 19 cases including one case of disseminated infection due to A flavus. Furthermore, the immunoperoxidase stain was positive in a culture negative tissue section with histological evidence of mycelial development, indicating the presence of Aspergillus species. Some cross-reactivity was observed with the highly related fungus P boydii, although the number of mycelial elements that stained was low. CONCLUSIONS: Immunoperoxidase staining using the monoclonal antibody EB-A1 performs well on routinely processed tissue sections and permits detection and generic identification of Aspergillus species, although it was no better than conventional histopathology in identifying the presence of an infection. An additional advantage is that the immunostain may help to provide an aetiological diagnosis when cultures remain negative.
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