Application of theoretical considerations to the analysis of ELISA data

Biotechniques. 1989 Jun;7(6):608-15.


Solid-phase immunoassays such as the ELISA are in routine use in many areas of biological research. Data from these assays are analyzed in a variety of ways, frequently without taking into account the immunochemical principles of the assay. The Reference Standard Method is often used and is suitable and convenient for obtaining concentration (or activity) values from the antigen-specific ELISA or spRIA, sandwich assays, and inhibition assays. The standard curve required for this method may be obtained by simple linear regression analysis of logarithmic or logitlogarithmic transformed data obtained from titration of the reference standard. The shape of the logarithmic plot of the reference standard provides information on the performance of the assay. Examining data from multiple dilutions of the samples is essential to assure that each titrates with the same slope as does the reference standard; the analysis routine must permit this comparison to be made. ELISANALYSIS is a program for the IBM PC which was developed to perform such analyses. It is presented here as a model, with sufficient information provided for the development of similar analytical routines by interested users. This approach to ELISA data analysis is presented as an alternative to complicated empirical curve-fitting systems and simple endpoint methods, which can be immunochemically misleading or, in some cases, even invalid. The consistent use of the described routines would encourage greater uniformity in the means of data interpretation and thereby enhance our understanding of immunobiology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Animals
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / methods
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / standards*
  • Microcomputers
  • Ovalbumin / immunology
  • Software*


  • Ovalbumin