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Environ Sci Technol. 2012 Feb 7;46(3):1828-33. doi: 10.1021/es202689u. Epub 2012 Jan 18.

Highly sensitive and selective immuno-capture/electrochemical assay of acetylcholinesterase activity in red blood cells: a biomarker of exposure to organophosphorus pesticides and nerve agents.

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  • 1Key Laboratory of Pesticide and Chemical Biology of Ministry of Education, College of Chemistry, Central China Normal University, Wuhan 430079, PR China.


Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) enzyme activity in red blood cells (RBCs) is a useful biomarker for biomonitoring of exposures to organophosphorus (OP) pesticides and chemical nerve agents. In this paper, we reported a new method for AChE activity assay based on selective immuno-capture of AChE from biological samples followed by enzyme activity assay of captured AChE using a disposable electrochemical sensor. The electrochemical sensor is based on multiwalled carbon nanotubes-gold (MWCNTs-Au) nanocomposites modified screen printed carbon electrode (SPCE), which is used for the immobilization of AChE specific antibody. Upon the completion of immunoreaction, the target AChE (including active and inhibited) is captured onto the electrode surface and followed by an electrochemical detection of enzymatic activity in the presence of acetylthiocholine. A linear response is obtained over standard AChE concentration range from 0.1 to 10 nM. To demonstrate the capability of this new biomonitoring method, AChE solutions dosed with different concentrations of paraoxon were used to validate the new AChE assay method. AChE inhibition in OP dosed solutions was proportional to OP concentration from 0.2 to 50 nM. The new AChE activity assay method for biomonitoring of OP exposure was further validated with in vitro paraoxon-dosed RBC samples. The established electrochemical sensing platform for AChE activity assay not only avoids the problem of overlapping substrate specificity with esterases by using selective antibody, but also eliminates potential interference from other electroactive species in biological samples. It offers a new approach for sensitive, selective, and rapid AChE activity assay for biomonitoring of exposure to OPs.

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