Analytical chemistry

Double-codified gold nanolabels for enhanced immunoanalysis.

PMID 17579481


A novel double-codified nanolabel (DC-AuNP) based on gold nanoparticle (AuNP) modified with anti-human IgG peroxidase (HRP)-conjugated antibody is reported. It represents a simple assay that allows enhanced spectrophotometric and electrochemical detection of antigen human IgG as a model protein. The method takes advantage of two properties of the DC-AuNP label: first, the HRP label activity toward the OPD chromogen that can be related to the analyte concentration and measured spectrophotometrically; second, the intrinsic electrochemical properties of the gold nanoparticle labels that being proportional to the protein concentration can be directly quantified by stripping voltammetry. Beside these two main direct determinations of human IgG, a secondary indirect detection was also applicable to this system, exploiting the high molar absorptivity of gold colloids, by which, the color intensity of their solution was proportional to the concentration of the antigen used in the assay. Paramagnetic beads were used as supporting material to immobilize the sandwich-type immunocomplexes resulting in incubation and washing times shorter than those typically needed in classical ELISA tests by means of a rapid magnetic separation of the unbound components. A built-in magnet graphite-epoxy-composite electrode allowed a sensibly enhanced adsorption and electrochemical quantification of the specifically captured AuNPs. The used DC-AuNP label showed an excellent specificity/selectivity, as a matter of fact using a different antigen (goat IgG) a minimal nonspecific electrochemical or spectrophotometric signal was measured. The detection limits for this novel double-codified nanoparticle-based assay were 52 and 260 pg of human IgG/mL for the spectrophotometric (HRP-based) and electrochemical (AuNP-based) detections, respectively, much lower than those typically achieved by ELISA tests. The developed label and method is versatile, offers enhanced performances, and can be easily extended to other protein detection schemes as well as in DNA analysis.