Enabling clinical diagnostics and life science research with its innovative biological testing technology, Luminex Corporation, based in Austin, Texas, produces the powerful assay known as Luminex xMAP Technology. This technology, which delivers multiplexed assay capabilities, was used by different studies in a whitepaper reviewing how cytokines mediate inflammation in traumatic brain injury.
“Although a number of cytokines and chemokines have been implicated in human traumatic brain injury, research has focused on a fairly small number of them,” according to the whitepaper entitled “Pathogenesis of Traumatic Brain Injury,” published by Luminex. “However, Luminex xMAP Technology is enabling studies that can investigate the role that a large number of different cytokines and chemokines play in traumatic brain injury.”
Traumatic brain injury occurs following an impact to the head. Multiple events cascade from this initial trauma, and the eventual result is tissue damage and neurological impairment. During the cascade, a large number of cytokines are released by microglia, astrocytes, and neurons. While under normal conditions these cytokines play a role in physiological, neuromodulatory, and restorative functions, following traumatic brain injury they can feed into neurodegeneration and tissue damage.
If researchers want to understand the role of cytokine-mediated inflammation, they must be equipped with the proper technology. Conventional ELISAs cannot perform multiplex analysis, nor can they accurately measure large quantities of cytokines simultaneously. This is where Luminex xMAP Technology comes into play: it can analyze up to 500 cytokines or other analytes in one sample volume.
Using this technology, groups have identified an increase in tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), interleukin (IL)-6, and IL-1β in rats following traumatic brain injury. Conversely, IL-17, -10, and -5 decreased. These results are recapitulated in other animal models of brain injury, as well as studies using human serum. For example, a research group used the MILLIPLEX Multi-Analyte Profiling Human Cytokine/Chemokine kit based on xMAP Technology to study production of 42 cytokines following severe traumatic brain injury in humans. Inflammatory chemokines (such as TNF-α, IL-7, IL-8, and many others) peak by at least one day following injury, potentially exacerbating the damage caused by the original trauma.
Estimates from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicate that 1.7 million Americans are affected by traumatic brain injury, with more than 275,000 hospitalizations and 50,000 deaths resulting from the injury. Studying cytokine production using techniques such as Luminex xMAP Technology will lead to new therapeutic approaches that may target uncontrolled inflammatory cytokine production.