Laboratory expertise

We offer the analysis of specific IgE, IgG and IgG4 antibodies against more than 1,500 allergens. Highest quality results are obtained by fully automated, high-throughput analyzers from Thermo Fisher Scientific (Phadia) and Euroimmun.

In addition, the innovative biochip-based ImmunoCAP ISAC from Thermo Fisher (Phadia) is used to reveal the patient´s IgE antibody profile. This advanced technology allows the simultaneous measurement of IgE antibodies against 112 allergen components in a small sample volume.  

Allergic or pseudoallergic reactions to drugs or chemical substances can be determined by the basophil granulation test (BDT). The lymphocyte transformation test (LTT) is used for the detection of type IV sensitizations to various contact allergens and is accredited according to ISO 15189.

We offer the detection of all clinically and diagnostically relevant autoantibodies (AAb). The immunofluorescence technology (HELMED® IFT processor from AESKU; EUROStar fluorescence microscope from EUROIMMUN) is part of the established methods. It is one of the most proven and recommended methods for AAb screening worldwide. In addition to microscopic analysis, we are also highly experienced in autoantibody differentiation using enzyme immunoassays (ELISA) and line-assays (blot). 

A variety of genetic analyses is available in the field of molecular, tumor and pharmacogenetics including low- and high-resolution HLA typing. Should you require genotyping of sequence variants that are not yet listed in our analytical portfolio, we will be pleased to establish them for you.

Following methods are used for genetic analyses:

  • Polymerase chain reaction (allele-specific, sequence-specific or including restriction digestion)
  • Melting curve analysis
  • Reverse hybridization
  • Sanger sequencing
  • Multiplex Ligation-Dependent Probe Amplification-MLPA (to detect large deletions or gene amplifications)
  • Next-Generation-Sequencing (NGS)

Quantification and characterization of cell populations in blood or cell culture samples are performed by flow cytometry (FACS) using a 10-color BD FACSLyricTM analyzer. Besides the well-established cell lineage markers for the characterization of T cells (CD3, CD4, CD8), B cells (CD19), NK cells (CD16/56) and selected subpopulations such as regulatory T cells (CD4+/CD25++/CD127low) or “thymic emigrant” cells (CD4+/CD45RA+/CD31+), almost any cell population can be analyzed by specific extra- or intracellular markers. In addition, cellular properties like apoptosis or level of activation can be assessed.

Moreover, flow cytometry can also be used to perform functional cellular assays (check chapter “Functional Immunoassays“).

Cellular based functional assays are used to reveal functional properties of different cell subpopulations of the immune system such as granulocytes, monocytes as well as lymphocytes including T and Natural Killer cells.

Neutrophil Granulocytes

To investigate the phagocytic function of granulocytes the PhagotestTM and PhagoburstTM assays are performed. In contrast to the PhagotestTM which displays the capacity of granulocytes to ingest opsonized bacteria, the PhagoburstTM assay determines the oxidative burst activity and thereby the potential to eliminate ingested bacteria.

Basophil Degranulation Assay (BDT)

The basophile-degranulation assay (BDT; CAST® 2000 ELISA; "in vitro provocation test") is offered for the detection of sensitizations to allergens. In contrast to the fluorescence enzyme immunoassay (FEIA, also known as RAST), the BDT detects both basophile-bound, allergen-specific IgE antibodies and so-called pseudo-allergies. In addition to its increased sensitivity for IgE-antibodies, this assay has therefore a wider scope for the etiologic classification of allergic diseases compared to FEIA.

Monocyte Functional Assay

The functional property of monocytes may be evaluated by their release of tumor necrosis factor-a (TNF-a). TNF-α is secreted by monocytes/ macrophages upon activation by various stimuli and is one of the key cytokines of any pro-inflammatory immune reaction. The immunomodulatory effect of a certain substance can be analyzed by its TNF-a releasing capacity quantified by the Chemiluminescence Immunoassay (CLIA; Immulite®). Lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced TNF-a release serves as reference value. 

NK-Cell Cytotoxicity Assay

The cytotoxic activity of NK cell is analyzed by a non-radioactive Calcein release assay (qualitative) using the tumor cell line (K562) known to be sensitive to NK cell-mediated cytotoxicity. Similar to the classical Chromium-51 (51Cr) release assay, this assay identifies the functional potential of NK cells to lyse aberrant cells. 

Lymphocyte Transformation Test

The lymphocyte transformation test (LTT) is used to detect specific cellular sensitizations. The test has evolved into a reproducible and highly sensitive method used in medical-biological research, taking advantage of the development in cell culture techniques and analytical methods.

The range of indications for LTT includes the detection or exclusion of allergic sensitizations of cell-mediated type (type IV allergy), deficiencies or functional defects of the immune system, cellular compatibility/ incompatibility (transplantation medicine) as well as lymphocyte responsiveness to pathogens. 

Detection of Intracellular Glutathione (GSH)

The overall glutathione supply in the body is determined on the basis of the intracellular glutathione level, which can be used to evaluate the anti-oxidative capacity of cells. Glutathione is instable in serum; however 10-fold higher concentrations can be measured intracellularly. The reduced form of glutathione (GSH) is measured in isolated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) including monocytes, T and NK cells. 

Clinical Chemistry

Clinical chemistry comprises the basic diagnostics of all common enzymes, electrolytes, hormones, vitamins and metabolites in specimens like blood, urine and cerebrospinal fluid. Fully automated analytics are offered on platforms from Roche Diagnostics, Siemens and Beckman-Coulter.

Haematology/Haemostaseology

In addition to the "classical" blood count examination (differential blood count), all common lymphocyte subpopulations up to lymphoma typing are detected by cytofluorometry. The analyses are carried out on fully automated platform XN 9000 and flow cytometers produced by Sysmex and Becton Dickinson, respectively. ACL Top devices manufactured by Werfen are used for coagulation analysis.

Infectiology

In the field of infectiology, methods of conventional microbiological diagnostics (cell culture, identification and resistance testing of human pathogenic bacteria and fungi), serological (ELISA, immunoblot) and molecular biological methods (PCR) as well as cellular assays (e.g. LTT for the detection of pathogen-specific T lymphocytes or Quantiferon-Tb-Gold Plus Test) are applied.

Pharmacology

Using state-of-the-art technology, qualitative and quantitative determinations of both foreign substances and endogenous parameters from blood and urine are performed.

Enzyme immunological (CEDIA, EIA) and chromatographic methods (HPLC, GC, GC/MS and LC-MS/MS) are available for analysis. The analytical focus is on therapeutic drug monitoring, screening of drug and abuse-relevant substances, the analysis of catecholamines and other biogenic amines as well as the development and implementation of analytical methods for the detection of novel medicinal substances and metabolites.

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