Résumé : Detection of autoantibodies to the TSH receptor (TSH-R) in Graves' disease has found widespread use in clinical routine and is performed mostly by commercial RRAs measuring TSH binding inhibitory activity. We report in this study on a second generation TSH binding inhibitory assay using the human recombinant TSH-R with two major improvements: 1) superior diagnostic sensitivity for Graves' disease, and 2) for the first time, nonradioactive and radioactive coated tube (CT) technology. Full-length human recombinant TSH-R was expressed in the K562 leukemia cell line and grown in suspension at a high density. A murine monoclonal antibody was selected for binding to the native TSH-R without interfering with autoantibodies or TSH and was coated to polystyrene tubes. After detergent extraction, TSH-R was affinity immobilized on antibody-coated tubes. The binding of TSH to the TSH-R could be demonstrated by the addition of 125I- or acridinium ester-labeled bovine TSH, and this binding could be inhibited by sera from patients with Graves' disease up to 95%. Subsequently, these novel assays, a CT RRA and a CT luminescence receptor assay, were compared to the conventional RRA based on porcine antigen in a blinded clinical multicenter trial. Sera from 328 patients with Graves' disease (86 untreated, 116 treated, and 126 in remission) and 520 controls (comprised of healthy blood donors and patients with autoimmune diseases or goiter) were tested in all 3 assays. Receiver-operating characteristic plot analysis resulted in a specificity of 99.6% with a sensitivity of 98.8% for both CT assays, compared to 99.6% specificity and 80.2% sensitivity for the conventional RRA (P < 0.001). In all 3 groups of patients with Graves' disease, the 2 CT assays were significantly more sensitive for the disease than the conventional assay, without loss of specificity in the control groups. This increase in sensitivity and the nonradioactive or radioactive CT format constitute a significant improvement over the currently available assays.