Biotechnology

Low-cost sensors detect biologically early stages of Parkinson’s disease

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Researchers at the University of Campinas (UNICAMP) and the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar) in Brazil have developed an electrochemical sensor that detects Parkinson’s disease at different stages. The device was built using an ordinary 3D printer and has proven capable of early diagnosis, as well as serving as a model for identifying other diseases, according to an article. published in a journal Sensors and Actuators B: Chemistry.

Researchers at the University of Campinas (UNICAMP) and the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar) in Brazil have developed an electrochemical sensor that detects Parkinson’s disease at different stages. The device was built using an ordinary 3D printer and has proven capable of early diagnosis, as well as serving as a model for identifying other diseases, according to an article. published in a journal Sensors and Actuators B: Chemistry.

“The sensor quickly showed the level of PARK7/DJ-1 protein in human blood and synthetic cerebrospinal fluid. The molecule is associated with Parkinson’s at levels below 40 micrograms per liter (40µg/L),” it says Christian Kalinkethe first author of the article.

Kalinke is a postdoctoral fellow at UNICAMP’s Institute of Chemistry (IQ) and a visiting fellow at Manchester Metropolitan University in England.

“It can be printed in various shapes and sizes. It can also be miniaturized to create truly portable devices requiring very small samples,” he explains.

To build the sensor, the researchers used a commercial filament made primarily of polylactic acid (PLA), a biodegradable polymer associated with a conductive material (graphene) and other additives. The three electrodes are printed on a plastic substrate by manufacturing additives chemically treated to make it more conductive and stimulate the formation of a surface layer of functional (carboxyl) groups that bind to the antibody.

The activation process requires removal of the polymer insulating surface from the electrode by immersion in sodium hydroxide (NaOH) and application of an electric potential (positive and negative). Reaction is then promoted between the antibody and PARK7/DJ-1 to result in the diagnosis. Antibody specific for PARK7/DJ-1 was immobilized on the surface of the electrode, and the sensor was used to detect the protein at three levels: 30 μg/L, 40 μg/L and 100 μg/L. The average level in patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s at different stages is about 30 ± 9 µg/L, according to data in the scientific literature.

This research was supported by FAPESP (projects 13/22127-2, 17/21097-3, 19/00473-2 And 21/07989-4)

“Patients are highly unlikely to go to the doctor for routine check-ups to detect early stage Parkinson’s. If disease is suspected, physical and behavioral symptoms may already be present, and the disease may be well established,” said Juliano Alves Bonacin, the article’s last author and professor in the Department of Inorganic Chemistry at IQ-UNICAMP. “We decided to design and manufacture a very simple device that is inexpensive and usable for continuous monitoring, with alerts to doctors and patients of changes in PARK7/DJ-1 levels, which is very useful when analyzed together. with other biomarkers.”

Proof of concept

The main significance of this study is as a proof of concept insofar as it demonstrates the versatility of 3D printing in generating platforms for immobilization of biomolecules. “We managed to 3D print all components of an electrochemical cell using only polymer as the conductive material,” says Kalinke. “In this particular study, commercially available materials were purchased off the shelf, but we also developed new filaments for 3D printing in our lab.”

According to the authors, the platform could be used to diagnose other diseases. In the specific case of PARK7/DJ-1, the protein has been linked to type 2 diabetes, infertility and some cancers, as well as neurological disorders. The aim is to expand its use to other biomarkers, and Kalinke is working on a sensor to diagnose yellow fever.

“Imagine there is an outbreak of a certain disease in a certain area. With a few 3D printers and a few electrodes, it is possible to produce sensors like ours on site,” said Bonacin.

Other co-authors are Craig E. Banks, professor of electrochemical and nanotechnology technologies at Manchester Metropolitan University; And Bruno Campos Janegitz And Paul Robert DeOliveiraresearchers at UFSCar in Araras, São Paulo state.

About the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP)

The São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) is a public institution with the mission of supporting scientific research in all fields of knowledge by providing fellowships, fellowships and grants to investigators associated with higher education and research institutions in the State of São Paulo, Brazil. FAPESP realizes that the best research can only be done in collaboration with the best international researchers. Therefore, it has forged partnerships with funding agencies, higher education, private companies, and research organizations in other countries that are recognized for the quality of their research and have encouraged scientists funded by its grants to further develop their international cooperation. You can learn more about FAPESP at www.fapesp.br/en and visit the FAPESP news agency at www.agencia.fapesp.br/en to keep abreast of the latest scientific breakthroughs that FAPESP helps to achieve through its many programs, awards and research centers. You can also subscribe to the FAPESP news agency at http://agencia.fapesp.br/subscribe.


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