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Azide and Tween-20 reduce binding to autoantibody epitopes of islet antigen-2; implications for assay performance and reproducibility

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75 - 79
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Immunological Methods
DatePublished - Dec 2009


Autoantibodies to islet antigen 2 (IA-2A) are important markers for predicting diabetes in children and young adults. Harmonization of IA-2A assay measurement is essential if results from different laboratories are to be compared. We investigated whether sodium azide, a bacteriostatic agent added to some assays, could affect IA-2A binding and thereby contribute to differences in IA-2A measurement between laboratories. Addition of 0.1% azide to assay buffer was found to reduce median IA-2A binding of 18 selected sera from IA-2A positive patients with type 1 diabetes and their relatives by 41% (range, 78 to − 33%, p <0.001). The effect on binding was epitope specific; median IA-2A binding by 14 sera with antibodies to the protein tyrosine phosphatase region of IA-2 was reduced by 48% (range, 11 to 78%, p <0.001), while binding by 4 sera with antibodies specific to only the juxtamembrane region of IA-2 showed no change (median increase 16% (range 6 to 33%, p = 0.125). When the Tween-20 concentration was reduced from 1% to 0.15% the median reduction in IA-2A binding with azide by the 18 sera was only 10% (range, − 12 to 41%, p <0.001). Tween-20 also exerted an independent effect, since median IA-2A binding increased by 23% (range 3% to 86%, p <0.001) when Tween-20 concentration was reduced from 1% to 0.15% in the absence of azide. We conclude that common assay reagents such as azide and Tween-20 can strongly influence IA-2A binding in an epitope-related manner, and their use may explain some of the differences between laboratories in IA-2A measurement.


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