Integrated microfluidic aptasensor for mass spectrometric detection of vasopressin in human plasma ultrafiltrate
We present a microfluidic aptamer-based biosensor for detection of low-molecular-weight biomarkers in patient samples. Using a microfluidic device that integrates aptamer-based specific analyte extraction, isocratic elution, and detection by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry, we demonstrate rapid, sensitive and label-free detection of arginine vasopressin (AVP) in human plasma ultrafiltrate. AVP molecules in complex matrices are specifically captured by an aptamer that is immobilized on microbeads via affinity binding in a microchamber. After the removal of unbound, contaminating molecules through washing, aptamer–AVP complexes are thermally disrupted via on-chip temperature control. Released AVP molecules are eluted with purified water and transferred to a separate microchamber, and deposited onto a single spot on a MALDI plate via repeated, piezoelectrically actuated ejection, which enriches AVP molecules over the spot area. This integrated on-chip sample processing enables the quantitative detection of low-abundance AVP by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry in a rapid and label-free manner. Our experimental results show the detection of AVP in human plasma ultrafiltrate as low as physiologically relevant picomolar concentrations via aptamer-based selective preconcentration, demonstrating the potential of our approach as a rapid (∼1 h), sensitive clinical AVP assay.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Microfluidics Research 2015-2016