Publications & Posters

Digital Elisa For The Quantification Of Attomolar Concentrations Of Alzheimer’s Disease Biomarker Protein Tau In Biological Samples


Elena Pérez-Ruiz, Deborah Decrop, Karen Ven,

Anal Chim Acta. 2018 Jul 26;1015:74-81

DOI: 10.1016/j.aca.2018.02.011


The close correlation between Tau pathology and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) progression makes this protein a suitable biomarker for diagnosis and monitoring of the disorder evolution. However, the use of Tau in diagnostics has been hampered, as it currently requires collection of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which is an invasive clinical procedure. Although measuring Tau-levels in blood plasma would be favorable, the concentrations are below the detection limit of a conventional ELISA. In this work, we developed a digital ELISA for the quantification of attomolar protein Tau concentrations in both buffer and biological samples. Individual Tau molecules were first captured on the surface of magnetic particles using in-house developed antibodies and subsequently isolated into the femtoliter-sized wells of a 2 × 2 mm2 microwell array. Combination of high-affinity antibodies, optimal assay conditions and a digital quantification approach resulted in a 24 ± 7 aM limit of detection (LOD) in buffer samples. Additionally, a dynamic range of 6 orders of magnitude was achieved by combining the digital readout with an analogue approach, allowing quantification from attomolar to picomolar levels of Tau using the same platform. This proves the compatibility of the presented assay with the wide range of Tau concentrations encountered in different biological samples. Next, the developed digital assay was applied to detect total Tau levels in spiked blood plasma. A similar LOD (55 ± 29 aM) was obtained compared to the buffer samples, which was 5000-fold more sensitive than commercially available ELISAs and even outperformed previously reported digital assays with 10-fold increase in sensitivity. Finally, the performance of the developed digital ELISA was assessed by quantifying protein Tau in three clinical CSF samples. Here, a high correlation (i.e. Pearson coefficient of 0.99) was found between the measured percentage of active particles and the reference protein Tau values. The presented digital ELISA technology has great capacity in unlocking the potential of Tau as biomarker for early AD diagnosis.