New kinds of coatings by using polyethylene glycols were studied and were applied to a qualitative homogeneous immunoassay that exploits the agglutination reaction for the detection of autoimmune antibodies in a complex matrix. We used a piece of new technology, the CopalisTM, which uses a special optical-sizing flow particle analysis and a semiconductor laser as a light source. Polystyrene microbeads coated with the antigen were used as markers and were put in contact with the serum sample. Different polyethylene glycols were synthesised and tested, optimising the experimental parameters. Human serum specimens were evaluated and we obtained a higher sensitivity with good discrimination between negative and positive samples. All the experimental steps are easy, rapid and enable us to process many samples in a short period of time
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