Use of whole sheep red blood cells in ELISA to assess immunosuppression in vivo

J Immunotoxicol. 2007 Jan;4(1):77-82. doi: 10.1080/15476910601161691.


An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) using whole sheep red blood cells (SRBC) has been reported as one of the methods for detecting a T-lymphocyte-dependent antibody response. However, it has not been widely used because of SRBC problems such as the weak attachment to ELISA plates, specificity and short-term stability. The objectives of this study were to address these issues and to validate the SRBC-specific antibody response assay. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were bled after 6 days of SRBC immunization. In our new procedure, glutaraldehyde was added before discarding the supernatant of inoculated SRBC suspension to attach SRBC firmly to the plate, while in the original method it was added after discarding. As a result, the attached SRBC was maintained throughout the ELISA procedures. No interference was observed in the titration curve of IgM and IgG antibodies in rats and IgM-antibody in mice when control sera were analyzed to evaluate specificity of this method. The short-term stability of SRBC was overcome by using the different lots of SRBC. They provided antibody titers, which were consistent with those measured using the same lot for immunization. In addition, cyclophosphamide, cyclosporine, prednisolone and methotrexate, well-known immunosuppressive agents, were tested to confirm the applicability of the improved ELISA method to detect the T-lymphocyte-dependent antibody response. All four compounds inhibited the IgM antibody responses dose-dependently. These results demonstrate that the improved whole SRBC-ELISA method provides reproducible and reliable results in the T-lymphocyte-dependent antibody response assay.