Analytical chemistry

Enhancement in the sensitivity of microfluidic enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays through analyte preconcentration.

PMID 22861072


In this Article, we describe a microfluidic enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) method whose sensitivity can be substantially enhanced through preconcentration of the target analyte around a semipermeable membrane. The reported preconcentration has been accomplished in our current work via electrokinetic means allowing a significant increase in the amount of captured analyte relative to nonspecific binding in the trapping/detection zone. Upon introduction of an enzyme substrate into this region, the rate of generation of the ELISA reaction product (resorufin) was observed to increase by over a factor of 200 for the sample and 2 for the corresponding blank compared to similar assays without analyte trapping. Interestingly, in spite of nonuniformities in the amount of captured analyte along the surface of our analysis channel, the measured fluorescence signal in the preconcentration zone increased linearly with time over an enzyme reaction period of 30 min and at a rate that was proportional to the analyte concentration in the bulk sample. In our current study, the reported technique has been shown to reduce the smallest detectable concentration of the tumor marker CA 19-9 and Blue Tongue Viral antibody by over 2 orders of magnitude compared to immunoassays without analyte preconcentration. When compared to microwell based ELISAs, the reported microfluidic approach not only yielded a similar improvement in the smallest detectable analyte concentration but also reduced the sample consumption in the assay by a factor of 20 (5 μL versus 100 μL).