Cytokines are small proteins and peptides that are produced by the immune cells. They are crucial modulators of the immune system and constitute a complex regulatory and communication network. Besides, they regulate cell maturation and humoral and immune responses. Hence, identifying and measuring cytokines are crucial in understanding disease pathogenesis.
Researchers employ several techniques for evaluating cytokines in biological samples. These techniques include microarrays, ELISA, and multiplex techniques such as MesoScale Discovery immunoassays. However, Luminex assays have been increasingly employed in cytokine analysis. Hence, the current article highlights the advantages of using Luminex cytokine assays.
Top 10 advantages of Luminex cytokine assays
1. Multiplexing capabilities
In concept, Luminex assays are numerous ELISA assays on a bead. Each microsphere acts as an individual test. Hence, Luminex ELISAs can multiplex upto 100 analytes in a single assay well. Thus, through 96-well or 364-well plates, Luminex ELISA multiplex assays provide higher throughput and density.
2. Require lesser sample volumes
Biological samples are always limited. Besides, study samples such as CSF and bronchoalveolar fluids are difficult to obtain and analyze. Luminex immunoassays require significantly fewer sample volumes. The sample volume is just 50 μl of sample per well. Thus, a large amount of data can be obtained from a significantly small volume of study samples.
3. Accurate results
Luminex ELISA assays produce accurate results similar to traditional ELISA assays. Moreover, they are more reproducible compared to microarrays.
Luminex assays offer custom panels and probes. Researchers can customize study probes on assay panels and develop custom Luminex assays for individual research needs. These probes include receptors, antibodies, and peptides. Thus, the Luminex assay expands the reach of customers in evaluating cytokines in complex biological matrices.
5. High-throughput and high-density analysis
The Luminex assay offers both high-throughput and high-density sample analysis. The assay can multiplex upto 100 tests in a single run and run upto 1000 study samples every day. Besides, these results are as accurate and reliable as conventional ELISA assays. Although real-time PCR and ELISA provide high throughput and microarrays can provide high-density analysis, these techniques lack in their ability to offer both high-throughput and high-density screening of target analytes.
6. A better understanding of biological systems
Luminex assays can effortlessly evaluate and measure critical biological elements in study samples. Understanding several inflammatories, genetic, infectious, and rheumatological factors through modulatory elements such as chemokines, cytokines, and growth factors will further improve our understanding of health and disease states.
7. Broader dynamic range
Compared to conventional immunoassays, Luminex assays provide a wide dynamic range. Hence, fewer dilutions are needed to detect and measure target analytes in complex study samples.
8. Rapid analysis
Luminex assays are run using microbeads. The small surface area and 3D structure of microbeads generate faster reaction kinetics and thus result in shorter run times. Hence, a single Luminex run is completed ideally within one hour.
Luminex assays are indeed crucial in identifying and quantifying cytokines from study samples. However, their applications extend far beyond the detection of cytokines. Luminex assays can be conjugated with receptors, antibodies, and peptides, and thus their applications can be extended to protein expression and gene expression profiling, HLA testing, and much more.
Luminex assays are highly adaptable. They can analyze a wide range of biological samples such as saliva, sputum, urine, cell and tissue lysate, plasma, and serum, making them a crucial screening modality.