Laboratories have found that they can drastically reduce the cost of their sample screening and analysis workflows by introducing cheaper technologies like ELISPOT. ELISPOT is an effective accompanying technology for analytical methods such as flow cytometry and other expensive methods. Researchers can use ELISPOT to visually quantify which of their samples secrete a cytokine of interest with greater specificity and sensitivity at a fraction of the cost. Instead of using large amounts of flow cytometric antibodies to analyze each sample to be analyzed, researchers use ELISPOT to search for suitable samples that have surface antigens or cytokine secretion profiles that they want to analyze further. Afterwards, you can check promising samples with more complex analysis methods if necessary.
In contrast to the expensive analysis methods such as cytometry, which ELISPOT can partially replace, ELISPOT kits are inexpensive, do not require any additional device infrastructure and do not require advanced training. In addition, ELISPOT kits require fewer cells than methods such as flow cytometry or CyTOF to study the same phenomenon due to the high sensitivity and background noise during analysis. While many analyzers require tens of thousands of events to generate a usable data set, thanks to its high sensitivity, ELISPOT can deliver results with a few dozen specific cells per sample. Because of these favorable properties, researchers use ELISPOT everywhere as a precursor to other analysis methods. This enables them to save costs and gain similar insights with fewer cells.
ELISPOT is powerful and inexpensive
The integration of ELISPOT with more comprehensive analysis methods may seem a bit strange to some researchers, since the technologies generate different types of data that are not directly comparable. Finally, the purple or bruises of an ELISPOT kit do not describe cellular subpopulations, only the cytokine secretion by the cell populations on the plate. Since ELISPOT uses living cells that are plated on a 96-well plate, each well contains approximately 100 μl of medium. Most researchers believe that the volumes needed are flexible, which means that cells can be plated at different concentration ranges if researchers prefer. This means that ELISPOT can be calibrated to analyze a wider range of cytokine concentrations than flow cytometry or ELISA, which may not be able to distinguish samples with similarly low concentrations.
ELISPOT is becoming more attractive due to the high costs associated with harvesting deep data. Although user-friendly flow cytometry systems have made it to the market and later to the laboratory, the flow costs are high. Other methods of analysis are even more expensive. At the same time, very experienced personnel are required every time an experiment is used if these instruments are used. The same applies to the interpretation of the data that the instruments generate. However, ELISPOT does not suffer from these disadvantages.
Use ELISPOT to reduce the cost of sample screening
A short thought experiment is required to understand where ELISPOT brings the greatest benefit. Imagine a laboratory examining the immune response of a subset of T cells characterized by IFN-y secretion after exposure to antigen epitopes. If the laboratory were to use flow cytometry or comparable technology for each sample, it would require a handful of different antibodies just to make the population of interest analyzable using cytometry. In addition, they would then have to use an intracellular staining antibody to detect the IFN-y secretion that would characterize their population of interest.
Performing the required staining protocol and fluorochrome compensation would take a lot of man-hours – and it could prove difficult because there are too few cells to analyze. It would also be very expensive to analyze this stain to analyze hundreds or thousands of different epitopes. In many samples, the researchers may not find IFN-y secretion if the cells do not respond to the antigen. With flow cytometry, the high cost