, Volume 385, Issue 8, pp 1414-1420
Date: 13 Jul 2006

A novel enhancement assay for immunochromatographic test strips using gold nanoparticles

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The immunochromatographic assay is a well-known and convenient diagnostic system. In this report, the development of a novel enhancement assay for the test strips is described. Additionally, this highly sensitive immunochromatographic assay was applied to detect human chorionic gonadotropin hormone (HCG) as the model case. The primary antibody-conjugated gold nanoparticles were used as the enhancer of the standard method. The primary antibodies were immobilized within a defined detection zone (test line) on the diagnostic nitrocellulose membrane. The secondary antibodies were conjugated with colloidal gold nanoparticles. In combination with an effective sample pretreatment, the gold-conjugated antibodies and the primary antibodies formed a sandwich complex with the target protein. Within the test line, the sandwich complex was immobilized, and furthermore, concentrated by the enhancer resulting in a localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) phenomenon and a distinct red color on the test line. The intensity of color of the red test line (signal intensity), which correlated directly with the concentration of the target protein in the standard or spiked samples, was assessed visually and by computer image analysis using a three-determination analysis. Under optimum conditions, the limit of detection (LOD) for HCG assay was 1 pg/mL. When using human serum, 10 pg/mL of HCG could be detected. We have also spiked total prostate-specific antigen (TPSA) in female serum. The LOD for TPSA was determined as 0.2 ng/mL. With this method, the quantitative determination of the target protein could be completed in less than 15 min. Our novel immunochromatographic strips using the enhancing method based on LSPR of gold nanoparticles are useful as a rapid and simple screening method for the detection of important analytes for medical applications, environmental monitoring, food control, and biosecurity.