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Molecularly imprinted polymers in pseudoimmunoassay.

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  • School of Chemistry, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK. r.ansell@chem.leeds.ac.uk


Immunoassays are a class of analytical techniques based on the selective affinity of a biological antibody for its antigen. Competitive binding assays, of which the radioimmunoassay (RIA) was the first example, are based on the competition between analyte and a labelled probe for a limited number of binding sites. Molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) have been shown to be suitable replacements for biological antibodies in such techniques. Molecularly imprinted sorbent assays (MIAs) similar to RIA have been developed for a range of analytes of clinical and environmental interest. Limits of detection and selectivities of such assays are often similar to those using biological antibodies. Some assays have been used for measurements directly in biological fluids. The field is reviewed and it is shown that some perceived disadvantages of MIPs do not hinder their application in competitive binding assays: many MIAs have been demonstrated in aqueous solvents, and it has been shown that the quantity of template required to prepare imprinted polymers can be drastically reduced, and that binding site heterogeneity is not a problem as long as the sites which bind the probe most strongly are selective. Finally, recent developments including assays in microtitre plates, the use of enzyme-labelled probes, flow-injection assays and a scintillation proximity MIA are discussed.

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