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J Immunol Methods. 2004 Aug;291(1-2):27-38.

Validation and comparative analysis of a multiplexed assay for the simultaneous quantitative measurement of Th1/Th2 cytokines in human serum and human peripheral blood mononuclear cell culture supernatants.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Centocor Inc., 200 Great Valley Parkway, Malvern, PA 19355, USA.


There is increasing evidence suggesting a relationship between cytokine levels and disease pathogenesis, which has led to interest in analyzing multiple cytokines in biological fluids and culture supernatants for various research and clinical studies. The introduction of methodologies allowing simultaneous measurement of interrelated biomarkers/cytokines has further revolutionized this process. In contrast to tissue culture supernatant, the measurement of cytokines in serum has proven to be difficult to characterize in multiplexed formats because of the presence of large dynamic concentration ranges of proteins and other interfering factors that are present in this matrix. In the present study, we have used the microsphere-based multiplex method to simultaneously quantitate and compare six analytes, encompassing a representation of the Th1/Th2 cytokine panel (interleukin (IL)-2, IL-4, IL-5, interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), and IL-10), in both serum and culture supernatants from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). A detailed validation procedure for these determinations is described along with a comparative analysis of the performance of the multiplexed assay in serum and culture supernatant matrices. Our results indicate that precision of the multiplexed assay is comparable in both culture supernatant and serum. However, the accuracy of quantification of cytokines in the serum matrix but not in culture supernatant may be compromised depending upon the cytokine being analyzed. Therefore, one must use caution when interpreting data from such complex matrices. Nevertheless, this assay format is appropriate to profile cytokines in clinical trial samples.

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