ELISPOT stands for "Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Spot Assay". It is a laboratory technique for detecting cells that make (or "secrete") various substances. These substances include specific types of cytokines or antibodies. The ELISPOT method is typically used with blood cells, and is a helpful tool in studying the human immune system and various treatments for disease (e.g. vaccines).
In the ELISPOT technique, tiny wells are used to contain the cells, with a variety of other substances. The substances cause colored spots to form near the cells that secrete the substances in question. These spots can then be counted manually (using a microscope, for example) or automatically using specialized equipment with computer vision capabilities.
The ELISPOT technique is very sensitive, and can detect even a single substance-producing cell. It is also very versatile, since it can be tailored to detect a wide variety of very specific secretions.
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- A flash animation of the ELISpot procedure
- An animated illustration of the ELISPOT process
- Examples of spot patterns formed by the ELISPOT technique