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Anal Chem. 2008 Nov 15;80(22):8477-84. doi: 10.1021/ac801211s. Epub 2008 Oct 15.

Magnetic electrochemical immunoassays with quantum dot labels for detection of phosphorylated acetylcholinesterase in plasma.

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  • 1Pacific Norwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington 99352, USA.


A new magnetic electrochemical immunoassay has been developed as a tool for biomonitoring exposures to organophosphate (OP) compounds, e.g., insecticides and chemical nerve agents, by directly detecting organophosphorylated acetylcholinesterase (OP-AChE). This immunoassay uniquely incorporates highly efficient magnetic separation with ultrasensitive square wave voltammetry (SWV) analysis with quantum dots (QDs) as labels. A pair of antibodies was used to achieve the specific recognition of OP-AChE that was prepared with paraoxon as an OP model agent. Antiphosphoserine polyclonal antibodies were anchored on amorphous magnetic particles preferably chosen to capture OP-AChE from the sample matrixes by binding their phosphoserine moieties that were exposed through unfolding the protein adducts. This was validated by electrochemical examinations and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Furthermore, antihuman AChE monoclonal antibodies were labeled with cadmium-source QDs to selectively recognize the captured OP-AChE, as characterized by transmission electron microscopy. The subsequent electrochemical SWV analysis of the cadmium component released by acid from the coupled QDs was conducted on disposable screen-printed electrodes. Experimental results indicated that the SWV-based immunoassays could yield a linear response over a broad concentration range of 0.3-300 ng/mL OP-AChE in human plasma with a detection limit of 0.15 ng/mL. Such a novel electrochemical immunoassay holds great promise as a simple, selective, sensitive, and field-deployable tool for the effective biomonitoring and diagnosis of potential exposures to nerve agents and pesticides.

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