Highly sensitive quantification of alzheimer’s disease biomarkers by aptamer-assisted amplification

Hei-Nga Chan, Di Xu, See-Lok Ho, Dinggeng He, Man-Shing Wong, Hung-Wing Li*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


Alzheimer’s disease (AD), a chronic neurodegenerative disease associated with the loss of neurons in the brain, is the most pervasive type of dementia; 47 million people are affected, and the number is expected to increase to more than 131 million by 2050, according to Alzheimer’s Disease International. Both early diagnosis and continuous monitoring are crucial for early intervention, symptomatic treatment, monitoring of the efficacy of intervention and improved patient function. Beta-amyloid peptide, tau, and phosphorylated tau are useful for screening and diagnosis; meanwhile, simultaneous assessment of multiple biomarkers is of paramount importance for accurate disease diagnosis. Methods: Herein, we report a direct, inexpensive and ultrasensitive aptamer-based multiplex assay for the quantification of trace amounts of AD biomarkers in both human serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples. In this newly developed assay, molecular recognition of an antibody-aptamer pair provides high specificity in target detection, and the use of a DNA amplification strategy affords high sensitivity, allowing quantification of AD biomarkers in both biological fluids in 1.5 h with only a diminutive amount of the sample consumed. A tailor-made turn-on fluorophore, namely, SPOH, was employed to label the antibody-aptamer hybrids and provide a strong fluorescence signal, which was then detected with a total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy electron-multiplying charge-coupled device (TIRFM-EMCCD) imaging system. The simultaneous detection of biomarkers was achieved by a direct shape-coded method in which the nanoplatforms can be distinguished from one another by their morphologies. Results: This assay demonstrated a lower detection limit (in the femtomolar range) for AD biomarkers than the previously reported antibody-antibody method. Conclusion: The developed assay holds tremendous clinical potential for early diagnosis of AD and monitoring of its progression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2939-2949
Number of pages11
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 9 May 2019

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (miscellaneous)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Antibody-aptamer hybrid immunoassay
  • Magnetic nanoparticle
  • Turn-on fluorophore


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