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Biosens Bioelectron. 2004 Feb 15;19(7):701-9.

A piezoelectric immunoagglutination assay for Toxoplasma gondii antibodies using gold nanoparticles.

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State Key Laboratory for Chemo/Biosensing and Chemometrics, College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Hunan University, Changsha 410082, PR China.


The serologic detection of anti-Toxoplasma gondii immunoglobulins plays a key role in the clinical diagnosis of Toxoplasmosis. In this paper, a simple, rapid and highly sensitive agglutination-based piezoelectric immunoassay has been firstly developed for directly detecting anti-T. gondii immunoglobulins in infected rabbit serum (IRS) and infected rabbit blood (IRB). The proposed technique is based on that the specific agglutination of antigen-coated gold nanoparticles, averaging 10nm in diameter, in the presence of the corresponding antibody causes a frequency change that is monitored by a piezoelectric device. In contrast to the commonly used piezoelectric assays, it possesses an attractive advantage in that the immobilization of antibody or antigen on the crystal is unnecessary. Use of a newly prepared sensing probe which was modified by a plasma-polymerized film (PPF) of n-butyl amine and further by a heparin layer resulted in a response-enhanced immunoagglutination and a high compatibility of the probe with biological samples. An appropriate reagent consisting of 1% normal rabbit serum (NRS) and 0.1% bovine serum albumin (BSA) for diluting the analytes were verified in counteracting the background interference of assay. Moreover, an optimization of assay medium composition with the addition of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) serving as immunoagglutination rate and sensitivity enhancer was investigated in detail. It is found that the developed immunoagglutination assay system is sensitive to dilution ratio of anti-T. gondii antibody as low as 1:5500. Analytical results of several specimens obtained using the developed technique are in satisfactory agreement with those given by the ELISA method, implying a promising alternative approach for detecting anti-T. gondii antibodies in the clinical diagnosis.

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