Aptamer-based electrochemical detection of picomolar platelet-derived growth factor directly in blood serum

Rebecca Y. Lai, Kevin W. Plaxco, Alan J. Heeger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

336 Scopus citations


We report an electrochemical, aptamer-based (E-AB) sensor for the detection of platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) directly in blood serum. The E-AB approach employs alternating current voltammetry to monitor target-induced folding in a methylene blue-modified, PDGF-binding aptamer. The sensor is sensitive, highly selective, and essentially reagentless: we readily detect the BB variant of PDGF at 1 nM directly in undiluted, unmodified blood serum and at 50 pM (1.25 ng/mL) in serum-diluted 2-fold with aqueous buffer. The sensitivity and selectivity achieved by this sensor match or significantly exceed those of the best analogous optical approaches. For example, the detection limit attained in 50% serum is achieved against a >25 million-fold excess of contaminating blood proteins and represents a 4 order of magnitude improvement over the most sensitive optical PDGF aptasensor reported to date. Moreover, the E-AB sensor combines these promising attributes in a platform that is reusable, label-free, and electronic. Given these advantages, E-AB sensors appear well suited for implementation in portable microdevices directed at the direct detection of proteins and small molecules in complex, largely unprocessed clinical samples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-233
Number of pages5
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry


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