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Clin Chem. 2011 Oct;57(10):1444-51. doi: 10.1373/clinchem.2011.163139. Epub 2011 Aug 22.

Digital microfluidic platform for multiplexing enzyme assays: implications for lysosomal storage disease screening in newborns.

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Advanced Liquid Logic, Research Triangle Park, NC, USA.



Newborn screening for lysosomal storage diseases (LSDs) has been gaining considerable interest owing to the availability of enzyme replacement therapies. We present a digital microfluidic platform to perform rapid, multiplexed enzymatic analysis of acid α-glucosidase (GAA) and acid α-galactosidase to screen for Pompe and Fabry disorders. The results were compared with those obtained using standard fluorometric methods.


We performed bench-based, fluorometric enzymatic analysis on 60 deidentified newborn dried blood spots (DBSs), plus 10 Pompe-affected and 11 Fabry-affected samples, at Duke Biochemical Genetics Laboratory using a 3-mm punch for each assay and an incubation time of 20 h. We used a digital microfluidic platform to automate fluorometric enzymatic assays at Advanced Liquid Logic Inc. using extract from a single punch for both assays, with an incubation time of 6 h. Assays were also performed with an incubation time of 1 h.


Assay results were generally comparable, although mean enzymatic activity for GAA using microfluidics was approximately 3 times higher than that obtained using bench-based methods, which could be attributed to higher substrate concentration. Clear separation was observed between the normal and affected samples at both 6- and 1-h incubation times using digital microfluidics.


A digital microfluidic platform compared favorably with a clinical reference laboratory to perform enzymatic analysis in DBSs for Pompe and Fabry disorders. This platform presents a new technology for a newborn screening laboratory to screen LSDs by fully automating all the liquid-handling operations in an inexpensive system, providing rapid results.

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