The detection of low levels of cytokines in biological matrices is currently limiting for a range of research and clinical diagnostic applications. This is particularly true for our studies on the inflammation biology of the nervous system. The limiting factors for our studies are sensitivity, sample size and interference from complex proteins or molecules. We are developing optical waveguide sensor technology for cytokine detection and quantification. Our aim is to provide a sensitive, simple assay for the detection of cytokines to provide further evidence for the role of inflammatory proteins in neurological function.