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Chem Biol. 1996 Jun;3(6):471-7.

Artificial antibodies to corticosteroids prepared by molecular imprinting.

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Pure and Applied Biochemistry, Chemical Center, Lund University, P.O. Box 124, S-22100 Lund, Sweden.



Molecular imprinting can be used to prepare antibody and receptor mimics. We have previously shown that acrylic acid polymers can be imprinted to recognize a variety of small molecules. Here, we show that molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) can selectively recognize steroid structures.


Artificial antibodies mimicking the binding performance of natural anti-corticosteroid antibodies have been prepared using a molecular imprinting protocol with either cortisol or corticosterone as a target molecule. The binding characteristics of a range of structurally related ligands were estimated using a form of radioimmunoassay. The antibody mimics were found to be highly selective for the ligands used in their preparation and the cross-reactivities with compounds of related structure resembled those obtained in studies with natural antibodies.


The binding properties of MIPs, prepared against corticosteroids, exhibit strong similarities to those of naturally raised antibodies. Such artificial antibodies may serve as a useful complement to their natural counterparts in studies of corticosteroid binding events.

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