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Summary of Immuno Chemical Techniques

Immunochemistry is the study of the chemistry of the immune system. This involves the study of the properties, functions, interactions and production of the chemical components (antibodies/immunoglobulins, toxin, epitopes of proteins like CD4, antitoxins, cytokines/chemokines, antigens) of the immune system. It also include immune responses and determination of immune materials/products by immunochemical assays.

In addition, immunochemistry is the study of the identities and functions of the components of the immune system. Immunochemistry is also used to describe the application of immune system components, in particular antibodies, to chemically labelled antigen molecules for visualization.

Various methods in immunochemistry have been developed and refined, and used in scientific study, from virology to molecular evolution. Immunochemical techniques include: enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, immunoblotting (e.g., Western blot assay), precipitation and agglutination reactions, immuno electrophoresis, immuno phenotyping, immuno chromatographic assay and cyflometry.

Definination - Immunochemical methods are processes utilizing the highly specific affinity of an antibody for its antigen to detect the distribution of a given protein (antigen) in tissues or cells. This methodology is highly important in the clinical context, as the normal localizations of a large number of proteins are known to be altered in various disease states, particularly in cancer.

Immunochemistry offers simple, rapid, robust yet sensitive, and in most cases, easily automated methods applicable to routine analyses in clinical laboratories. Immunochemical methods do not usually require extensive and destructive sample preparation or expensive instrumentation. In fact, most methods are based on simple photo-, fluoro-, or luminometric detection. Immunochemical methods have rapidly replaced chromatographic techniques in clinical diagnostics, offering fast detection of antibodies associated with specific diseases, disease biomarkers, hormones, and pharmaceuticals. The assays most often used in clinical immunochemistry involve either quantitative or qualitative formats using enzymelinked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs), immunochromatography in the form of lateral-flow devices like dip-sticks and test strips or Western Blot assays used to interpret data from protein analysis with gel electrophoresis. Similarly, immunohistochemistry, one of the main diagnostics tools in today’s clinical laboratories, is also based on the principles of antigen-antibody binding.

Antigen-Antibody Binding
All immunochemical methods are based on a highly specific and sensitive reaction between an antigen and an antibody. Antigen is a substance that induces the production of antibodies [ie, proteins from the class of immunoglobulins (MW about 150 kDa) that are produced in the immune system of any vertebrate or human as a result of a defense reaction (immunity) to this foreign substance]. Antibodies are a large family of glycoproteins that share key structural and functional properties. Functionally, they can be characterized by their ability to bind both to antigens and specialized cells or proteins of the immune system