Bead-based immunoassays employ the same basic principle as sandwich immunoassays. Capture beads, which can be differentiated by size and internal allophycocyanin (APC) fluorescence intensity, are conjugated to antibodies specific to a particular analyte. Next, a selected panel of defined capture bead sets is incubated with a biological sample containing target analytes specific to the capture antibodies. A biotinylated detection antibody cocktail is added, which leads to the formation of capture bead-analyte-detection antibody sandwiches.
Finally, streptavidin-phycoerythrin (SA-PE) is added, which binds to biotinylated detection antibodies, providing fluorescent signal intensities in proportion to the amount of bound analyte. The PE fluorescent signal of analyte-specific beads regions is quantified using flow cytometry, and the concentrations of particular analytes are determined using data analysis software and the standard curve generated in the assay.
In this experiment, we use a mouse T helper cytokine panel to simultaneously quantify the concentration of 13 separate cytokine targets in tissue culture supernatants collected from mouse splenocytes cultured under various stimulatory conditions.