SEC-ICP-MS and on-line isotope dilution analysis for characterisation and quantification of immunochemical assays

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Journal Article
Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 2019, 411 (16), pp. 3553 - 3560
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© 2019, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature. This study presents a novel size exclusion chromatography-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (SEC-ICP-MS) method for the characterisation and quantification of immunoassays with lanthanide-labelled antibodies. SEC-ICP-MS in combination with a double isotope dilution approach enabled facile validation of the antibodies’ integrity, the determination of the batch to batch labelling efficiency, monitoring of each labelling step, and quantification of the immunocomplexes after incubation with the target protein. The addition of oxygen into the dynamic reaction cell improved the detection of sulphur as a marker for the antibodies and target protein via mass-shifting (LOD = 3.7 ng/mL), whilst maintaining sufficient sensitivity for the analysis of the lanthanides. Ultra-high performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) SEC ensured a rapid chromatographic method with separation times under 7 min of the labelled and unlabelled antibodies, the immunocomplexes, and the unconjugated polymer used to lanthanide-label the antibodies. SEC calibration estimated the molecular weights of all peaks and provided valuable insights in immunochemical reactions and the stoichiometry of the reactants and products. A novel on-line isotope dilution analysis (IDA) enabled absolute quantification of sulphur and lanthanide signals and the protein of interest. The chromatographic separation of immunocomplexes and labelled antibodies allowed the simultaneous determination of the antibody/metal stoichiometry and target protein concentration from a single mass flow chromatogram. An immunoglobulin protein was quantified after incubation with an 153Eu-labelled primary polyclonal antibody. The procedure was validated with direct labelling of the target protein with 156Gd for parallel, simultaneous quantification. The concentration determined via direct labelling of the protein deviated 1.9% from the immunochemical approach employing 153Eu-labelled polyclonal antibodies. [Figure not available: see fulltext.].
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