Review of Mycobacteriumavium subsp. paratuberculosis antigen candidates with diagnostic potential

Heidi Mikkelsen, Claus Aagaard, Søren Saxmose Nielsen, Gregers Jungersen

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) is a slow growing bacterium that can infect ruminants and remain latent for years without development of any clinical signs or disease. Diagnosis is often based on detection of MAP antibodies in milk or serum samples or culture of bacteria from faeces; however, these diagnostic tools are often not applicable until years after infection. Detection of MAP specific cell-mediated immune (CMI) responses can serve as an alternative and be implemented in a diagnostic tool. CMI responses can be measured at an early stage of infection, prior to development of antibodies and shedding of detectable amounts of MAP. At present, available diagnostic assays are limited by the lack of MAP specific antigens included in these assays resulting in poor specificity. The objective of this review is to provide a systematic overview of diagnostic MAP antigen candidates described to date with special emphasis on antigen candidates tested for CMI responses. Relevant information on 115 different MAP antigens was systematically extracted from literature and summarized in 6 tables of CMI antigens, secreted antigens, cell wall and membrane antigens, lipoprotein antigens, heat shock antigens and hypothetical antigens. Strategies for evaluation of novel antigen candidates are discussed critically. Relatively few of the described antigens were evaluated for their use in CMI based diagnostic assays and so far, no obvious candidate has been identified for this application. Most of the novel diagnostic candidates were evaluated in few animals and it is recommended that an appropriate sample size is included for evaluation of antigen candidates in future studies.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalVeterinary Microbiology
    Issue number1-2
    Pages (from-to)1-20
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    • Antigen
    • Paratuberculosis
    • Diagnostic antigens


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