Optical affinity biosensors are pursued for timely monitoring of thrombin in human blood, which is of urgent need in tailored anticoagulation therapies. However, the unspecific deposition of molecules, cells, and aggregates from the blood at their surface (also termed fouling) severely hinders their development and impedes the deploying of this technology to everyday clinical practice. We addressed this challenge by designing surface plasmon resonance (SPR) sensor chip with an antifouling polymer brush architecture and incorporated thrombin aptamer bioreceptors. Poly[(N-(2-hydroxypropyl)-methacrylamide)-co-(carboxybetaine methacrylamide)] brushes were synthesized on gold sensor chip surface via photoinduced single-electron transfer living radical polymerization and postmodified with three thrombin aptamers (HD1 short, HD1 and HD22). The affinity interaction of the aptamer bioreceptors with thrombin (as well as with other molecules present in the blood) was investigated and changes in their performance when incorporated into the polymer brushes were characterized. The combination of brushes and aptamer bioreceptors allowed for the analysis of medically relevant concentrations of thrombin in the 10 % blood by direct SPR detection format. This is the first time that the optical affinity biosensor is demonstrated for label-free analysis of biomarkers in a minimally processed human blood without a need for pre-separation steps. We believe that this system constitutes a basis for the future affinity biosensor applications that are suitable for the clinical settings and can be readily adapted to detect a range of important biological markers.
- Biosensor Technologies