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Adv Healthc Mater. 2014 Mar;3(3):412-23. doi: 10.1002/adhm.201300033. Epub 2013 Aug 21.

A rapid, direct, quantitative, and label-free detector of cardiac biomarker troponin T using near-infrared fluorescent single-walled carbon nanotube sensors.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA.


Patients with chest pain account for 10% of US emergency room visits according to data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2013). For triage of these patients, cardiac biomarkers troponin I and T are endorsed as standard indicators for acute myocardial infarction (AMI, or heart attack). Thus, there is significant interest in developing a rapid, point-of-care (POC) device for troponin detection. In this work, a rapid, quantitative, and label-free assay, which is specific for cardiac troponin T (cTnT) detection, using fluorescent single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs), is demonstrated. Chitosan-wrapped carbon nanotubes are cross-linked to form a thin gel that is further functionalized with nitrilotriacetic acid (NTA) moieties. Upon chelation of Ni(2+) , the Ni(2+) -NTA group binds to a hexa-histidine-modified troponin antibody, which specifically recognizes the target protein, troponin T. As the troponin T binds to the antibody, the local environment of the sensor changes, allowing direct troponin detection through intensity changes in SWCNT bandgap fluorescence. This platform represents the first near-infrared SWCNT sensor array for cTnT detection. Detection can be completed within 5 min, demonstrating a linear response to cTnT concentration and an experimental detection limit of 100 ng mL(-1) (2.5 nm). This platform provides a promising new tool for POC AMI detection in the future. Moreover, the work presents two new methods of quantifying the number of amines and carboxylic groups, respectively, in a carbon hydrogel matrices.


carbon nanotubes; cardiac biomarkers; fluorescence; near-infrared; troponin

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