A new serologic test for antibodies to Toxoplasma is described, which is based upon inhibition of specific staining with fluorescent antibody. In performing the test, a mixture of the test serum and known fluorescein-labelled antiserum is added to a dried smear of toxoplasms for 1 hour at 37°C. The smear is then rinsed and examined with a fluorescence microscope. Reduction in the brightness of fluorescence, as compared to that of a negative control slide, indicates the presence of antibody in the test serum.
A comparison of the results of this test with those of the methylene blue dye test showed a strong parallelism between the two sets of results. On the other hand, the complement-fixation test for toxoplasmosis did not yield nearly as many positives as the inhibition test.
The specificity of the new test was studied by comparing it with dye test results and clinical histories in human patients, and by testing a group of animals immunized with a variety of non-Toxoplasma antigens. No evidence of cross-reactions was obtained in the latter series.
Some advantages and disadvantages of the inhibition test are discussed.