Evaluation of an OV-16 IgG4 Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay in Humans and Its Application to Determine the Dynamics of Antibody Responses in a Non-Human Primate Model of Onchocerca volvulus Infection.


Onchocerciasis is a neglected parasitic disease targeted for elimination. Current World Health Organization guidelines for elimination include monitoring antibody responses to the recombinant Onchocerca volvulus antigen OV-16 in children to demonstrate the absence of transmission. We report the performance characteristics of a modified OV-16 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and describe anti-OV-16 responses in serum samples from laboratory-inoculated nonhuman primates (NHPs) in relation to microfilariae (mf) in skin snip biopsies. This OV-16 IgG4 ELISA had sensitivity and specificity of 88.2% and 99.7%, respectively, as determined by receiver operator characteristic analysis using a serum panel of 110 positive and 287 negative samples from people infected with other filariae or other parasitic infections. Anti-OV-16 responses in inoculated NHP (N = 9) were evaluated at quarterly intervals for IgM and the four IgG subclasses. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay results showed a well-defined IgG4 reactivity pattern and moderate IgG1 antibody responses. Meanwhile, the reactivity by IgG2, IgG3, or IgM did not show a clear pattern. Temporal evolution of IgG4 reactivity was evaluated through monthly testing, showing that NHPs developed anti-OV-16 IgG4 on average at 15 months postinoculation (range: 10-18 months). The average time to detectable mf was also 15 months (range: 11-25). The OV-16 ELISA used in this study was robust and allowed the detection of IgG4 responses, which were observed only among animals with detectable mf (N = 5), four of which showed declines in antibody responses once mf cleared. These findings also confirmed that the most informative antibody subclass responses to OV-16 are IgG4.

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