Development of graphene biosensors for IL-6 indication in disease

Pei Shee Tan, a postgraduate student at Shannon ABC and her supervisors Dr Joanna Tierney and Dr Niall Burke recently published an article with the Nanomaterials journal entitled “Laser Scribing Fabrication of Graphitic Carbon Biosensors for Label-Free Detection of Interleukin-6”. To view this article please click here.

Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is an important immuno-modulating cytokine playing a pivotal role in inflammatory processes in disease induction and progression. As IL-6 serves as an important indicator of disease state, it is of paramount importance to develop low cost, fast and sensitive improved methods of detection. Here we present an electrochemical immunosensor platform based on the use of highly porous graphitic carbon electrodes fabricated by direct laser writing of commercial polyimide tapes and chemically modified with capture IL-6 antibodies. The unique porous and 3D morphology, as well as the high density of edge planes of the graphitic carbon electrodes, resulted in a fast heterogeneous electron transfer (HET) rate, k0 = 0.13 cm/s. The resulting immunosensor showed a linear response to log of concentration in the working range of 10 to 500 pg/mL, and low limit of detection (LOD) of 5.1 pg/mL IL-6 in phosphate buffer saline. The total test time was approximately 90 min, faster than the time required for ELISA testing. Moreover, the assay did not require additional sample pre-concentration or labelling steps. The immunosensor shelf-life was long, with stable results obtained after 6 weeks of storage at 4 °C, and the selectivity was high, as no response was obtained in the presence of another inflammatory cytokine, Interlukin-4. These results show that laser-fabricated graphitic carbon electrodes can be used as selective and sensitive electrochemical immunosensors and offer a viable option for rapid and low-cost biomarker detection for point-of-care analysis.

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