The serine protease coagulation factor thrombin functions primarily in hemostasis, but is also involved in atherosclerosis, thromboembolic disease, cancer and inflammatory disease. Direct measurement of coagulation proteins including thrombin in plasma samples poses a significant challenge because of lack of specific probes and low thrombin concentrations. In addition, high plasma protein concentrations in samples can result in high backgrounds. These challenges were overcome using a bi-cell surface plasmon resonance (SPR) spectrometer with an immobilized thrombin aptamer to measure thrombin in samples passed through a low volume flow cell. For thrombin in Tris-EDTA buffer, the limit of detection (LOD) was 25. nM. Coefficient of variation (CV) for detection of 50. nM was 12.2% and 12.4% for intra and inter-day measurements respectively. This detection was specific for both thrombin aptamer and for thrombin. Using serum samples spiked with thrombin, the LOD was 50. nM with a linear range of detection from 50. nM to 200. nM. However use of serum samples was associated with consistent, low-level background drift. The contributions of nonspecific protein absorption onto the sensor surface and sample flow speed were assessed, and strategies to reduce this background drift were explored. We conclude that the bi-cell SPR platform with an aptamer capture probe can be employed as a highly sensitive real-time, label-free biosensor for the detection of coagulation factors in plasma samples.
- Bi-cell surface plasmon resonance spectrometer
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering