Multiplex cytokine profiling with highly pathogenic material: Use of formalin solution in luminex analysis

Stuart D. Dowall*, Victoria A. Graham, Thomas R.W. Tipton, Roger Hewson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Work with highly pathogenic material mandates the use of biological containment facilities, involving microbiological safety cabinets and specialist laboratory engineering structures typified by containment level 3 (CL3) and CL4 laboratories. Consequences of working in high containment are the practical difficulties associated with containing specialist assays and equipment often essential for experimental analyses. In an era of increased interest in biodefence pathogens and emerging diseases, immunological analysis has developed rapidly alongside traditional techniques in virology and molecular biology. For example, in order to maximise the use of small sample volumes, multiplexing has become a more popular and widespread approach to quantify multiple analytes simultaneously, such as cytokines and chemokines. The luminex microsphere system allows for the detection of many cytokines and chemokines in a single sample, but the detection method of using aligned lasers and fluidics means that samples often have to be analysed in low containment facilities. In order to perform cytokine analysis in materials from high containment (CL3 and CL4 laboratories), we have developed an appropriate inactivation methodology after staining steps, which although results in a reduction of median fluorescent intensity, produces statistically comparable outcomes when judged against non-inactivated samples. This methodology thus extends the use of luminex technology for material that contains highly pathogenic biological agents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-35
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Immunological Methods
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Work was funded by the UK Department of Health SRC. Views are those of the authors and are not necessary those of the Department of Health. We gratefully thank Ciaran Sewter (Millipore, UK) for his help and assistance.


  • Cytokines
  • Formalin
  • Luminex
  • Multiplex
  • Pathogenic


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