Cost-effective paper-based electrochemical immunosensor using a label-free assay for sensitive detection of ferritin†
Ferritin, a blood cell protein containing iron, is a crucial biomarker that is used to estimate the risk assessment of iron deficiency anemia. For point-of-care analysis, a reliable, cost-effective, selective, sensitive, and portable tool is extremely necessary. In this study, a label-free electrochemical immunosensor for detecting ferritin using a paper-based analytical device (ePAD) was created. The device pattern was custom designed onto filter paper to successfully fabricate a deliverable immunosensor. Graphene oxide was first modified onto the working electrode using an inkjet printing technique. An activation step of the electrode surface was then performed using standard 1-ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl)carbodiimide (EDC)/N-hydroxysulfosuccinimide (sulfo-NHS) chemistry. Anti-ferritin antibodies were covalently immobilized onto the amine-reactive ester surface. The amount of ferritin was monitored by observing the electrochemical signal of the selected redox couple by differential pulse voltammetry (DPV). In the presence of ferritin, the sensor showed a considerable decrease in electrochemical response in a concentration-dependent manner. In contrast, there was no observable change in current response detected in the absence of ferritin. The current response provided a good correlation with ferritin concentrations in the range of 1 to 1000 ng mL−1, and the limit of detection (3SD/slope) was found to be 0.19 ng mL−1. This fabricated immunosensor offered good selectivity, reproducibility, and long-term storage stability. In addition, this proposed immunosensor was successfully applied to detect ferritin in human serum with satisfactory results. The promising results suggested that this handmade paper-based immunosensor may be an alternative device for the diagnosis of iron deficiency anemia.