Infection serology

Medical Head of Department:

Prof. Dr. med. Nele Wellinghausen

Scientific and Technical Head of Department:
Dipl.-Biol. Andrea Götz

Detecting antibodies against a broad range of infectious pathogens is the chief task of infection serology. It thus provides indirect indications of an existing or previous infection with specific pathogens and is used, in particular, for detecting pathogens which are impossible or hard to grow in culture (e.g. viruses, chlamydia, borrelia and mycoplasma). Furthermore, an additional key function of infection serology is detecting infections of the central nervous system such as neuroborreliosis, neurolues and viral meningitides. For this purpose a pathogen-specific intrathecal antibody synthesis is clarified by determining the cerebrospinal fluid/serum antibody index.

The range of methods available in infection serology is broad: mostrly quantitative immunoassays are used. The detected antibodies can be differentiated as to their respective antigen specificity using the immunoblot technique. Antibodies against special infectious pathogens can also be detected using immunofluorescence techniques or agglutination tests.