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J Immunol Methods. 1992 Jul 6;151(1-2):47-66.

Studies of the 'hook' effect in the one-step sandwich immunoassay.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, University of Kansas, Lawrence 66045.


The one-step sandwich immunoassay is increasingly replacing the traditional two-step immunoassay due to obvious advantages such as assay speed. However, the one-step sandwich immunoassay suffers from the 'hook' effect irrespective of the analyte characteristics. The 'hook' effect is dependent primarily on the analyte concentration. Three different model analytes, human growth hormone (hGH), the dimeric form of hGH (D-hGH, having a discrete number of repeating epitopes) and ferritin (multiple epitopes) having different immunological properties have been employed in studies of the one-step sandwich immunoassay. The characteristics of each of the model analytes offer new insights into general guidelines for assay procedures. These guidelines permit rapid optimization of assay conditions for an immunoassay without a priori knowledge of the immunological characteristics of the antibody or antigen. Both experimental and theoretical data show several instances where high capacity solid-phase antibodies can effectively shift the 'hook' to relatively higher analyte concentrations. The effect of the concentration of labeled antibody on assay response was examined theoretically.

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