Ethanol euthanasia and its effect on the binding of antibody generated against an immunogenic peptide construct
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Mice were immunised with an immunogenic peptide construct CKNNNSTNSGI coupled to diphtheria toxoid as a carrier. This peptide sequence contains the epitope STNS which is the target of inhibitory monoclonal antibodies directed against the second merozoite surface antigen of Plasmodium falciparum. Antisera raised against the peptide construct were taken using an injection of 70 per cent ethanol or sodium pentobarbitone as methods of euthanasia and these methods compared by determining their effects on the binding specificity of the antibody to the antigen using the immunological criteria of immunofluorescence, immunoblotting criteria of immunofluorescence, immunoblotting and ELISA assays. There was no significant decrease in antibody binding with either sodium pentobarbitone, or ethanol with a final concentration of less than 30 per cent in mouse antisera. Antisera with an added ethanol concentration of 40 to 60 per cent relaxed antibody conformation and this raises the possibility of using the differential effects of ethanol as a tool in mapping antigenic fine structure of a range of antibodies directed against defined epitopes. The cross-reactive response of non-specific antibodies in polyclonal antisera was lowered at the suggested dosage for ethanol euthanasia. Ethanol has immense potential as an alternative method of euthanasia when barbiturate drugs, such as sodium pentobarbitone, are unavailable in specific experimental protocols. This may especially aid research workers in developing countries involved in vaccine development, antibody production and subsequent serological analysis.
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