An immunoassay is a biochemical test that measures the concentration of a substance in a biological liquid, typically serum or urine, using the reaction of an antibody or antibodies to its antigen. The assay takes advantage of the specific binding of an antibody to its antigen. Monoclonal antibodies are often used as they only usually bind to one site of a particular molecule, and therefore provide a more specific and accurate test, which is less easily confused by the presence of other molecules. The antibodies picked must have a high affinity for the antigen (if there is antigen available, a very high proportion of it must bind to the antibody).

Both the presence of antigen or antibodies can be measured. For instance, when detecting infection the presence of antibody against the pathogen is measured. For measuring hormones such as insulin, the insulin acts as the antigen.

For numerical results, the response of the fluid being measured must be compared to standards of a known concentration. This is usually done though the plotting of a standard curve on a graph, the position of the curve at response of the unknown is then examined, and so the quantity of the unknown found.

Detecting the quantity of antibody or antigen can be achieved by a variety of methods. One of the most common is to label either the antigen or antibody. The label may consist of an enzyme (see enzyme immunoassay (EIA)), radioisotopes such as I-125 Radioimmunoassay (RIA), magnetic labels (magnetic immunoassay - MIA) or fluorescence. Other techniques include agglutination, nephelometry, turbidimetry and Western Blot.

Immunoassays have a particularly important role in the diagnosis of HIV through the HIV test


Immunoassays can be divided into those that involve labelled reagents and those which involve non-labelled reagents. Those which involve labelled reagents are divided into homogenous and heterogeneous (which require an extra step to remove unbound antibody or antigen from the site, usually using a solid phase reagent) immunoassays. Heterogeneous immunoassays can be competitive or non-competitive.

* In a "competitive" immunoassay, the antigen in the unknown sample competes with labeled antigen to bind with antibodies. The amount of labeled antigen bound to the antibody site is then measured. In this method, the response will be inversely proportional to the concentration of antigen in the unknown. This is because the greater the response, the less antigen in the unknown was available to compete with the labeled antigen.

* In "noncompetitive" immunoassays, also referred to as the "sandwich assay," antigen in the unknown is bound to the antibody site, then labeled antibody is bound to the antigen. The amount of labeled antibody on the site is then measured. Unlike the competitive method, the results of the noncompetitive method will be directly proportional to the concentration of the antigen. This is because labeled antibody will not bind if the antigen is not present in the unknown sample.

Because "homogeneous" assays do not require this step, they are typically faster and easier to perform.

See also

* Lateral flow test

External links

* Learning Guides from Abbott Laboratories on Immunoassay (English): [ Part 1] [ Part 2] [ Part 3] [ Part 4] [ Appendix]

* [ Automation of Immunoassays]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Immunoassay — vgl. Immunassay …   Das Wörterbuch medizinischer Fachausdrücke

  • immunoassay — [im΄yə nō as′ā, i myo͞o΄nōas′ā] n. [ IMMUNO + ASSAY] a technique for analyzing, and measuring the concentration of, antibodies, hormones, etc. in the body, used in diagnosing disease, detecting the presence of a tumor or drug, etc …   English World dictionary

  • Immunoassay — Mikrotiterplatte zur Durchführung eines Immunoassays Als Immunoassays werden zusammenfassend eine Reihe von Methoden in der Bioanalytik bezeichnet, deren gemeinsames Grundprinzip die Erkennung und damit der Nachweis eines Analyten in einer… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • immunoassay — Detection and assay of substances by serological (immunological) methods; in most applications the substance in question serves as antigen, both in antibody production and in measurement of antibody by the test substance. SEE ALSO: enzyme linked… …   Medical dictionary

  • immunoassay — noun Date: 1959 a technique or test used to detect the presence or quantity of a substance (as a protein) based on its capacity to act as an antigen • immunoassayable adjective …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • immunoassay — immunoassayable, adj. /im yeuh noh euh say , as ay, i myooh /, n. any laboratory method for detecting a substance by using an antibody reactive with it. [1955 60; IMMUNO + ASSAY] * * * …   Universalium

  • immunoassay — noun A test for the presence of a substance using the reaction of an antibody to its antigen, making use of the high selectivity of components of biological immune systems …   Wiktionary

  • Immunoassay — Im|mu|no|as|say [ ə seɪ; ↑ immun engl. assay = Analyse, Prüfung, Versuch], der; s, s; S: Immunassay: Sammelbez. für sehr empfindliche immunchem. Analysenmethoden zu Nachweis u. Bestimmung solcher biol. aktiven Stoffe (z. B. Proteine, Hormone,… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Immunoassay — Im|mu|no|as|say vgl. ↑Immunassay …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

  • immunoassay —    A fluorescent antibody technique, used for detection of antigens and antibodies in blood and serum …   Forensic science glossary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.