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A Point-of-Care Immunosensor for Human Chorionic Gonadotropin in Clinical Urine Samples Using a Cuneated Polysilicon Nanogap Lab-on-Chip

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      Abstract

      Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a glycoprotein hormone secreted from the placenta, is a key molecule that indicates pregnancy. Here, we have designed a cost-effective, label-free, in situ point-of-care (POC) immunosensor to estimate hCG using a cuneated 25 nm polysilicon nanogap electrode. A tiny chip with the dimensions of 20.5 × 12.5 mm was fabricated using conventional lithography and size expansion techniques. Furthermore, the sensing surface was functionalized by (3-aminopropyl)triethoxysilane and quantitatively measured the variations in hCG levels from clinically obtained human urine samples. The dielectric properties of the present sensor are shown with a capacitance above 40 nF for samples from pregnant women; it was lower with samples from non-pregnant women. Furthermore, it has been proven that our sensor has a wide linear range of detection, as a sensitivity of 835.88 μA mIU-1 ml-2 cm-2 was attained, and the detection limit was 0.28 mIU/ml (27.78 pg/ml). The dissociation constant Kd of the specific antigen binding to the anti-hCG was calculated as 2.23 ± 0.66 mIU, and the maximum number of binding sites per antigen was Bmax = 22.54 ± 1.46 mIU. The sensing system shown here, with a narrow nanogap, is suitable for high-throughput POC diagnosis, and a single injection can obtain triplicate data or parallel analyses of different targets.

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      New discoveries on the biology and detection of human chorionic gonadotropin

      Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is a glycoprotein hormone comprising 2 subunits, alpha and beta joined non covalently. While similar in structure to luteinizing hormone (LH), hCG exists in multiple hormonal and non-endocrine agents, rather than as a single molecule like LH and the other glycoprotein hormones. These are regular hCG, hyperglycosylated hCG and the free beta-subunit of hyperglycosylated hCG. For 88 years regular hCG has been known as a promoter of corpus luteal progesterone production, even though this function only explains 3 weeks of a full gestations production of regular hCG. Research in recent years has explained the full gestational production by demonstration of critical functions in trophoblast differentiation and in fetal nutrition through myometrial spiral artery angiogenesis. While regular hCG is made by fused villous syncytiotrophoblast cells, extravillous invasive cytotrophoblast cells make the variant hyperglycosylated hCG. This variant is an autocrine factor, acting on extravillous invasive cytotrophoblast cells to initiate and control invasion as occurs at implantation of pregnancy and the establishment of hemochorial placentation, and malignancy as occurs in invasive hydatidiform mole and choriocarcinoma. Hyperglycosylated hCG inhibits apoptosis in extravillous invasive cytotrophoblast cells promoting cell invasion, growth and malignancy. Other non-trophoblastic malignancies retro-differentiate and produce a hyperglycosylated free beta-subunit of hCG (hCG free beta). This has been shown to be an autocrine factor antagonizing apoptosis furthering cancer cell growth and malignancy. New applications have been demonstrated for total hCG measurements and detection of the 3 hCG variants in pregnancy detection, monitoring pregnancy outcome, determining risk for Down syndrome fetus, predicting preeclampsia, detecting pituitary hCG, detecting and managing gestational trophoblastic diseases, diagnosing quiescent gestational trophoblastic disease, diagnosing placental site trophoblastic tumor, managing testicular germ cell malignancies, and monitoring other human malignancies. There are very few molecules with such wide and varying functions as regular hCG and its variants, and very few tests with such a wide spectrum of clinical applications as total hCG.
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        A new surface plasmon resonance sensor for high-throughput screening applications.

        We report a new high-throughput surface plasmon resonance (SPR) sensor based on combination of SPR imaging with polarization contrast and a spatially patterned multilayer SPR structure. We demonstrate that this approach offers numerous advantageous features including high-contrast SPR images suitable for automated computer analysis, minimum crosstalk between neighboring sensing channels and inherent compensation for light level fluctuations. Applications of a laboratory prototype of the high-throughput SPR sensor with 108 sensing channels for refractometry and biosensing are described. In refractometric experiments, the noise-limited refractive index resolution of the system has been established to be 3 x 10(-6) refractive index unit (RIU). Experimental data on detection of human choriogonadotropin (hCG) suggest that in conjunction with monoclonal antibodies against hCG, the reported SPR imaging sensor is capable of detecting hCG at concentrations lower than 500 ng/ml.
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          Theoretical and experimental study towards a nanogap dielectric biosensor.

          Theoretical and experimental studies of nanogap capacitors as potential label free biosensors are presented. The nanogap device is capable of detecting the existence of single stranded DNA (ssDNA) oligonucleotides (20-mer) in 100 nM aqueous solutions using a 20 nm gap of 1.2 pl in volume. While the dielectric properties of DNA solution have been widely investigated, early approaches are limited at low frequency by the parasitic noise due to the electrical double layer (EDL) impedance. Nanogap electrodes have the potential to serve as biomolecular junctions because their size (5-100 nm) minimizes electrode polarization effects regardless of frequency. In this paper, we modeled the effects of the EDL interaction between two parallel nanogap electrodes by solving the Poisson-Boltzmann (PB) equation for equilibrium state. When the gap size is smaller than the EDL thickness, the dependence of the nanogap capacitance on the ionic strength is insignificant. This is critical in using the capacitance change as an indicator of the existence of target molecules. The predicted capacitance of nanogaps filled with various ionic strength electrolytes was in quantitative agreement with the experimental measurements. The various concentrations of the target molecules in nanogap sensor were characterized. A capacitance change of a 20 nm x (10)1.5 microm x 4mm gap from 3.5 to 4.1 nF at 200 Hz was recorded between deionized water (DI) and 100 nM ssDNA solution (about 70,000 molecules inside the gap for equilibrium state).
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]Biomedical Nano Diagnostics Research Group, Institute of Nano Electronic Engineering (INEE), Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP), Kangar, Perlis, Malaysia
            [2 ]School of Microelectronic Engineering, University Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP), Kuala Perlis, Perlis, Malaysia
            [3 ]Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Hospital Tuanku Fauziah, Kangar, Perlis, Malaysia
            [4 ]University Health Centre, Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP), Kuala Perlis, Perlis, Malaysia
            Queen's University at Kingston, CANADA
            Author notes

            Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

            Conceived and designed the experiments: SRB. Performed the experiments: SRB. Analyzed the data: SRB SCBG PP RH PV. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: UH MIO HRR. Wrote the paper: SRB SCBG PP.

            Contributors
            Role: Editor
            Journal
            PLoS One
            PLoS ONE
            plos
            plosone
            PLoS ONE
            Public Library of Science (San Francisco, CA USA )
            1932-6203
            14 September 2015
            2015
            : 10
            : 9
            26368287
            4569379
            10.1371/journal.pone.0137891
            PONE-D-15-25019
            (Editor)

            This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited

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            Figures: 6, Tables: 4, Pages: 17
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            Funding
            This study was supported by Ministry of Higher Education of Malaysia (MTUN-COE grant 9016-00004). The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
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            Research Article
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            All relevant data are within the paper and its Supporting Information files.

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