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Single-Shot Detection of Neurotransmitters in Whole-Blood Samples by Means of the Heat-Transfer Method in Combination with Synthetic Receptors.

Vandenryt, T and van Grinsven, B and Eersels, K and Cornelis, P and Kholwadia, S and Cleij, TJ and Thoelen, R and De Ceuninck, W and Peeters, M and Wagner, P (2017) Single-Shot Detection of Neurotransmitters in Whole-Blood Samples by Means of the Heat-Transfer Method in Combination with Synthetic Receptors. Sensors, 17 (12). ISSN 1424-8220

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Abstract

Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter that plays a major role in the pathogenesis of a variety of conditions, including psychiatric disorders. The detection of serotonin typically relies on high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), an expensive technique that requires sophisticated equipment and trained personnel, and is not suitable for point-of-care applications. In this contribution, we introduce a novel sensor platform that can measure spiked neurotransmitter concentrations in whole blood samples in a fast and low-cost manner by combining synthetic receptors with a thermal readout technique-the heat-transfer method. In addition, the design of a miniaturized version of the sensing platform is presented that aims to bridge the gap between measurements in a laboratory setting and point-of-care measurements. This fully automated and integrated, user-friendly design features a capillary pumping unit that is compatible with point-of-care sampling techniques such as a blood lancet device (sample volume-between 50 µL and 300 µL). Sample pre-treatment is limited to the addition of an anti-coagulant. With this fully integrated setup, it is possible to successfully discriminate serotonin from a competitor neurotransmitter (histamine) in whole blood samples. This is the first demonstration of a point-of-care ready device based on synthetic receptors for the screening of neurotransmitters in complex matrices, illustrating the sensor's potential application in clinical research and diagnosis of e.g., early stage depression.

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