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PLoS One. 2017 Apr 18;12(4):e0175130. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0175130. eCollection 2017.

Validation of two multiplex platforms to quantify circulating markers of inflammation and endothelial injury in severe infection.

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Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.
Sandra A. Rotman Laboratories, Sandra Rotman Centre for Global Health, University Health Network, Toronto, Canada.
Department of Pediatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, United States of America.
Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.
Applied Health Research Centre, The HUB, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.
Departments of Medicine and Anesthesia, University of California, San Francisco, United States of America.
Cardiovascular Research Institute, University of California, San Francisco, United States of America.


Biomarkers can prognosticate outcome and enable risk-stratification. In severe infection, focusing on multiple markers reflecting pathophysiological mechanisms of organ injury could enhance management and pathway-directed therapeutics. Limited data exist on the performance of multiplex biomarker platforms. Our goal was to compare endothelial and immune activation biomarkers in severe pediatric infections using two multiplex platforms. Frozen plasma from 410 children presenting to the Jinja Regional Hospital in Uganda with suspected infection was used to measure biomarkers of endothelial (Angiopoietin-2, sFlt-1, sVCAM-1, sICAM-1) and immune (IL-6, IP-10, sTNFR-1, CHI3L1) activation. Two multiplex platforms (Luminex®, EllaTM) based on monoclonal antibody sandwich immunoassays using biotin-streptavidin conjugate chemistry were selected with reagents from R&D Systems. The two platforms differed in ease and time of completion, number of samples per assay, and dynamic concentration range. Intra-assay variability assessed using a coefficient of variation (CV%) was 2.2-3.4 for Luminex® and 1.2-2.9 for EllaTM. Correlations for biomarker concentrations within dynamic range of both platforms were best for IL-6 (ρ = 0.96, p<0.0001), IP-10 (ρ = 0.94, p<0.0001) and sFlt-1 (ρ = 0.94, p<0.0001). Agreement between concentrations obtained by both methods assessed by the Bland-Altman test varied, with best agreement for CHI3L1. Our data suggest that biomarkers of endothelial and immune activation can be readily measured with multiplex platforms. Luminex® and EllaTM produced reliable results with excellent CV% values. The EllaTM platform was more automated and completed in 75 minutes, potentially compatible with near-patient use. Trends in concentrations obtained by these methods were highly correlated, although absolute values varied, suggesting caution is required when comparing data from different multiplex platforms.

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