To assess whether a recently developed indirect immunofluorescent stain using monoclonal antibodies was more sensitive in detecting Pneumocystis carinii than the combination of Giemsa and methenamine silver nitrate stains which has routinely been used in the laboratory, 88 lavage fluid specimens and 34 induced sputum specimens were examined. All specimens were stained by five techniques: immunofluorescence using a combination of three monoclonal antibodies (from the National Institutes of Health, USA), immunofluorescence using a single monoclonal antibody (from Dakopatts), Giemsa, methenamine silver nitrate and toluidine blue O. Immunofluorescence using the monoclonal antibodies from the NIH was significantly more sensitive than any other single staining method and than the combination of Giemsa and methenamine silver nitrate staining. The study also showed that the cytospin centrifuge was very suitable for the preparation of slides with lavage fluid and processed induced sputum. Finally, the sensitivity of examination of induced sputum to detect Pneumocystis carinii was found to be 50% when compared with bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. However, this sensitivity may increase through practice.
European Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, 1990, Vol 9, Issue 12, p. 880-885