Suppression of non-specific binding in serological Luminex assays

J Immunol Methods. 2006 Feb 20;309(1-2):200-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jim.2005.11.008. Epub 2005 Dec 19.


Bead-based suspension array technology (xMAP, Luminex Corp.) permits the simultaneous analysis of antibodies with specificities for up to 100 different antigens in a single reaction and the high through-put screening of up to 1,000 sera per day. Therefore, this technology is becoming more and more popular for serological analyses, replacing ELISA techniques at least for epidemiological purposes. However, a major intrinsic problem of Luminex technology is that human sera may contain antibodies that directly bind to the beads, resulting in intolerably high non-specific background. The proportion of such "bead binders" in different serum panels frequently exceeds 5% and is therefore a severe problem. We screened for background inhibitors and found that serum pre-incubation with polyvinylalcohol, polyvinylpyrrolidone and a proprietary reagent (Super ChemiBlock, Chemicon) significantly reduced non-specific background, whereas use of Luminex SeroMap beads only partially solved the problem.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies / blood*
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Human papillomavirus 16 / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay / methods*
  • Lasers
  • Microspheres
  • Papillomavirus Infections / virology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / virology


  • Antibodies
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Fluorescent Dyes