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Anal Biochem. 1999 Aug 1;272(2):165-70.

High sensitivity immunoassays using particulate fluorescent labels.

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Pharmaceutical Discovery Division, SRI International, 333 Ravenswood Avenue, Menlo Park, California 94025, USA.


The use of polystyrene fluorescent microspheres as sensitive labels in direct-detection (not enzymatically amplified) heterogeneous equilibrium "sandwich" immunoassays in 96-well plates is described. With mouse IgG as a model antigen, a fluorescent particulate label is more sensitive than a corresponding soluble reporter. The limit of detection of mouse IgG in the multiparametrically optimized assay was 0.2 ng/ml (7.6 x 10(8) antigens/ml) for the particulate reporter and 50 ng/ml (1.9 x 10(11) antigens/ml) for the soluble reporter. The sensitivities of assays using the particulate label were dependent on the surface densities of the capture and reporter antibodies and the concentration of reporter beads. Sensitivity was improved by adding the preformed reporter antibody/fluorescent microsphere complex to trapped antigen on the well surfaces instead of sequentially adding the reporter antibody and then the fluorescent microspheres. Maximal (equilibrium) binding of the particulate reporter to captured antigen occurred after 20 h with a concentration of 1.4 x 10(9) reporter beads/ml. Thus, particulate fluorescent labels provide high sensitivity in direct-detection immunoassays.

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