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A New Sensor for Heparin Potency Detection

The new enzyme-linked differential time sensor has higher sensitivity for heparin potency, enabling physicians to make safe decisions quicker during anticoagulation therapy.

Thrombosis is the formation of a blood clot within a blood vessel, which can be life-threatening if it occurs within the brain as with stroke, or within the heart as with a heart attack. Anticoagulation therapy has been explored in recent years as a treatment against thrombosis, reducing death from thrombosis diseases. Heparin is a commonly used anticoagulant in anticoagulation therapy but its effects vary from patient to patient and for different diseases. Thus, regular monitoring is needed to adjust the dose during therapy.

In clinical diagnosis, detecting heparin potency is more useful than concentration detection. However, the systems in place involve complex instrumentation, and interference from BC restricts their accuracy and sensitivity. Hence, there is a need to develop new methods for selective and sensitive heparin detection.

Recently, a team led by Zhou Lianqun from the Suzhou Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Technology (SIBET) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have designed an enzyme-linked differential time sensor for heparin potency detection in whole blood.

Using graphene-modified carbon (GR-C), which was known to enhance bioelectric signals, a two-zone GR-C electrochemical sensor was designed based on the heparinase-linked differential time (HLDT) method.

Heparinase inhibits the anticoagulant activity of heparin by forming a heparin-antithrombin-thrombin complex during coagulation, and the time variation indicates the change in thrombin activity due to the effect of heparin. Based on the results obtained, it was found that the heparin potency detection range of the GR-C sensor falls between 0.1-5 U/mL and that the sensor displayed a high selectivity for heparin potency with an accuracy of 0.1 U/mL. The coefficient of variation of the peak time was also observed to be less than 5 per cent.

“Thus, it provides better clinical application for the GR-C sensor with good repeatability, high sensitivity, and wide range,” said Zhou.

Unlike other methods, the utilised HLDT method is advantageous due to its specificity, selectivity, and high accuracy. As demonstrated in the study, the team’s GR-C heparin sensor displayed excellent potential for evaluating the efficacy of clinical heparin therapies while at the same time, providing point-of-care smart devices that are cheaper, easier to use, and require a smaller injection volume. Further developing this technology will thus allow physicians to make safe decisions faster during anticoagulation therapy. [APBN]

Source: Zheng et al. (2022). The heparinase-linked differential time method allows detection of heparin potency in whole blood with high sensitivity and dynamic range. Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 198, 113856.