Microcheck 173

Serology uses antibodies, usually in serum or other body fluids, to detect and identify antigens. Conversely, known antigens are used to detect and identify antibodies. The change from negative to positive for specific antibodies during an infection is seroconversion; a rise in titer is characteristic of an active infection. Serial dilution of specimens permits quantification of antibodies in the sample.

■ Why is blood serum used in many immunological tests?

■ What is the significance of a rise in titer of specific antibodies in serum samples taken early and late during an infectious disease?

■ In a serological test, what is meant by a false positive reaction?

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