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PloS one

A versatile microparticle-based immunoaggregation assay for macromolecular biomarker detection and quantification.


PMID 25658837

Abstract

The rapid, sensitive and low-cost detection of macromolecular biomarkers is critical in clinical diagnostics, environmental monitoring, research, etc. Conventional assay methods usually require bulky, expensive and designated instruments and relative long assay time. For hospitals and laboratories that lack immediate access to analytical instruments, fast and low-cost assay methods for the detection of macromolecular biomarkers are urgently needed. In this work, we developed a versatile microparticle (MP)-based immunoaggregation method for the detection and quantification of macromolecular biomarkers. Antibodies (Abs) were firstly conjugated to MP through streptavidin-biotin interaction; the addition of macromolecular biomarkers caused the aggregation of Ab-MPs, which were subsequently detected by an optical microscope or optical particle sizer. The invisible nanometer-scale macromolecular biomarkers caused detectable change of micrometer-scale particle size distributions. Goat anti-rabbit immunoglobulin and human ferritin were used as model biomarkers to demonstrate MP-based immunoaggregation assay in PBS and 10% FBS to mimic real biomarker assay in the complex medium. It was found that both the number ratio and the volume ratio of Ab-MP aggregates caused by biomarker to all particles were directly correlated to the biomarker concentration. In addition, we found that the detection range could be tuned by adjusting the Ab-MP concentration. We envision that this novel MP-based immunoaggregation assay can be combined with multiple detection methods to detect and quantify macromolecular biomarkers at the nanogram per milliliter level.