When the antigen or antibody is attached to the surface of a cell or to particles of latex rubber (in commercial diagnostic tests), the antigen-antibody reaction becomes visible because the particles agglutinate (clump) as a result of antigen-antibody bonding (fig. 15.4). These agglutinated particles can be used to assay a variety of antigens, and tests that utilize this procedure are called immunoassays. Blood typing and modern pregnancy tests are examples of such immunoassays. In order to increase their sensitivity, modern immunoassays generally use antibodies that exhibit specificity for just one antigenic determinant site. The technique for generating such uniformly specific antibodies is described in a later section on monoclonal antibodies.
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This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.