Microfluidic Devices for Probing Cellular Oxidative and Nitrosative Stress

Oxidative and nitrosative stress caused by the overproduction of reactive nitrogen and oxygen species have been linked to several neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease. Nitric oxide, superoxide and peroxynitrite are three of the major reactive nitrogen and oxygen species (RNOS), which are generated by microglial cells in the brain that could damage nearby neurons to cause neuronal damage or death. One of the projects focuses on the development of a microchip electrophoresis with laser induced fluorescence detection-based method to monitor cellular nitrosative and oxidative stress by detecting and quantifying nitric oxide, superoxide and peroxynitrite in “brain-like” cellular environments.

Protein nitration is a result of nitrosative stress due to these RNOS. A parallel study is being conducted to develop microfluidic methods to monitor nitrosative stress and protein nitration in biological samples using microchip electrophoresis with electrochemical detection. Currently, the research focuses towards the development of an integrated microfluidic device that would enable the quantification and identification of nitrated peptides in the blood of Alzheimer's disease patients. These methods will enable us to gain a better understanding of the role that proinflammatory species play in neurodegeneration.