Background: Profiling immune responses induced by either infection or vaccination can provide insight into identification of correlates of protection. Furthermore, profiling of serological responses can be used to identify biomarkers indicative of exposure to pathogens. Conducting such immune surveillance requires readout methods that are high-throughput, robust, and require small sample volumes. While the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) is the classical readout method for assessing serological responses, the advent of multiplex assays has significantly increased the throughput and capacity for immunoprofiling. This report describes the development and assay performance (sensitivity, linearity of detection, requirement for multiple dilutions for each sample, intra- and inter-assay variability) of an electro-chemiluminescence (ECLIA)-based multiplex assay.
Methods: The current study describes the development of a multiplex ECLIA-based assay and characterizes the sensitivity, linear range, and inter- and intra-assay variability of the ECLIA platform and its agreement with the traditional ELISA. Special emphasis was placed on potential antigenic competition when testing closely related antigens in the multiplex format.
Results: Multiplexing of antigens in ECLIA provides significant practical benefits in terms of reducing sample volume requirements and experimental time. Beyond the practical advantages of multiplexing, the ECLIA provides superior assay performance when compared to the ELISA. Not only does ECLIA show good agreement with the ELISA assay, but the linear range of ECLIA is also sufficiently wide to permit single-dilution measurements of concentration without the need to do serial dilutions. The lack of antigenic competition allows the simultaneous testing of closely related antigens, such as plate antigens representing different alleles of the same protein, which can inform about cross-reactivities-or lack thereof-of serological responses.
Conclusion: The advantages of the newly developed tool for assessing the antigen profiles of serological responses may ultimately lead to the identification of biomarkers associated with various disease stages and or protection against disease.
Keywords: Antigen; Antigenic competition; ELISA; Electro-chemiluminescence; Multiplex; Serology; Vaccine.