Isoform specificity of commercially-available anti-TGF-β antibodies

Miklos M. Mozes, Timea Hodics, Jeffrey B. Kopp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) cytokine family has important and complex effects on many biologic processes. Mammals have three TGF-β isoforms which differ in their primary amino acid sequence, receptor binding characteristics, distribution, and function. Characterization of TGF-β production and localization is critically dependent upon appropriate reagents, including antibodies. We have analyzed the isoform specificity of eight commercially-available TGF-β antibodies, including one monoclonal antibody and seven polyclonal antibodies. We carried out semi-quantitative Western blot analysis using recombinant TGF-β, β2, and β3 as targets. We found that sensitivity and isoform specificity are dependent in part upon the presence or absence of reducing conditions. The antibodies tested showed a broad range of sensitivity, with an ability to detect 50 pg to 20 ng. Cross- reactivity with another, incorrect isoform was seen with several antibodies, and ranged from 0.2% to 42%. Nevertheless, we identified TGF-β antibodies directed against each isoform which provide moderate-to-high sensitivity and specificity when used in Western blot analysis. These results may have relevance for investigators who wish to detect particular TGF-β isoforms with techniques other than Western blot analysis, particularly when these techniques involve denatured proteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-93
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunological Methods
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - May 27 1999


  • Monoclonal antibodies
  • Polyclonal antibodies
  • TGF-β
  • Western blot analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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