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Synovial fluid (SF) is a difficult biological matrix to analyse due to its complex non-Newtonian nature. This can result in poor assay repeatability and potentially inefficient use of precious samples. This study assessed the impact of SF treatment by hyaluronidase and/or dilution on intra-assay precision using the Luminex and Meso Scale Discovery (MSD) multiplex platforms. SF was obtained from patients with knee osteoarthritis at the time of joint replacement surgery. Aliquots derived from the same sample were left untreated (neat), 2-fold diluted, 4-fold diluted or treated with 2mg/ml testicular hyaluronidase (with 2-fold dilution). Preparation methods were compared in a polysterene-bead Luminex 10-plex (N=16), magnetic-bead Luminex singleplex (N=7) and MSD 4-plex (N=7). Each method was assessed for coefficient of variation (CV) of replicate measurements, number of bead events (for Luminex assays) and dilution-adjusted analyte concentration. Percentage recovery was calculated for dilutions and HAse treatment. Hyaluronidase treatment significantly increased the number of wells with satisfactory bead events/region (95%) compared to neat (48%, p<0.001) in the polystyrene-bead Luminex assay, but the magnetic-bead Luminex assay achieved ≥50 bead events irrespective of treatment method. Hyaluronidase treatment resulted in lower intra-assay CVs for detectable ligands (group average CV<10%) than neat, 2-fold and 4-fold dilution (CV~25% for all, p<0.05) in both polystyrene- and magnetic-bead Luminex assays. In addition, measured sample concentrations were higher and recovery was poor (elevated) after hyaluronidase treatment. In the MSD 4-plex, within-group comparison of the intra-assay CV or concentration was not conclusively influenced by SF preparation. However, only hyaluronidase treatment resulted in CV<25% for all samples for TNF-α. There was no effect on analyte concentrations or recovery. Hyaluronidase treatment can improve intra-assay precision and assay signal of SF analysis by multiplex immunoassays and should be recommended for SF biomarker research, particularly using the Luminex platform.

Original publication




Journal article


J Immunol Methods

Publication Date





22 - 30


Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee, Biomarkers, Cytokines, Humans, Hyaluronoglucosaminidase, Immunoassay, Observer Variation, Osteoarthritis, Knee, Reproducibility of Results, Synovial Fluid