ELISA Tests

  • Medical Author:
    Syed Shahzad Mustafa, MD

    After growing up in the Rochester area, Dr. Mustafa pursued his undergraduate studies at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and attended medical school at SUNY Buffalo. He then completed his internal medicine training at the University of Colorado and stayed in Denver to complete his fellowship training in allergy and clinical immunology at the University of Colorado, National Jewish Health, and Children's Hospital of Denver.

  • Medical Author: Allison Ramsey, MD
    Allison Ramsey, MD

    Dr. Allison Ramsey earned her undergraduate degree at Colgate University and her medical degree at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. She completed her internal medicine training at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and remained at the university to complete her fellowship training in allergy and clinical immunology. Dr. Ramsey is board certified in internal medicine and allergy and immunology. Her professional interests include the treatment of drug allergy and eosinophilic disorders. She also enjoys teaching medical trainees. She is a member of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, the New York State Allergy Society, and the Finger Lakes Allergy Society. In her personal life, her interests include exercise, especially running and horseback riding; and spending time with her husband and two children.

  • Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

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What is ELISA?

ELISA is an abbreviation for "enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay."

What is an ELISA test?

An ELISA test uses components of the immune system and chemicals to detect immune responses in the body (for example, to infectious microbes). The ELISA test involves an enzyme (a protein that catalyzes a biochemical reaction). It also involves an antibody or antigen (immunologic molecules). Examples of the uses of an ELISA test includes to diagnose infections such as HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) and some allergic diseases.

What is the use of an ELISA test?

ELISA tests are primarily used to detect proteins (as opposed to small molecules and ions such as glucose and potassium). The substances detected by ELISA tests can include hormones, bacterial antigens, and antibodies that the body has made in response to infection or vaccination.

How does an ELISA test work?

There are variations of the ELISA test, but the most basic type consists of an antibody attached to a solid surface. This antibody has affinity for (will latch on to) the substance of interest, such as a hormone, bacteria, or another antibody. For example, human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), the commonly measured protein which indicates pregnancy, can be detected by ELISA. A mixture of purified HCG linked to an enzyme and the test sample (blood or urine) are added to the test system. If no HCG is present in the test sample, then only HCG with linked enzyme will bind to the solid surface. The more HCG that is present in the test sample, the less enzyme linked HCG will bind to the solid surface. The substance on which the enzyme acts is then added and the amount of product is measured in some way, such as a change in color of the solution.

What are the advantages of ELISA?

ELISA tests are generally accurate tests. They are considered highly sensitive and specific (accurate) and compare favorably with other methods used to detect substances in the body. The ELISA method is more straightforward and easier to perform than older laboratory techniques, which often required radioactive materials.

REFERENCE:

"Function and clinical applications of immunoglobulins"
uptodate.com

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/15/2016

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