Separation-Based Sensors for Continuous Monitoring of Bioactive Compounds in the Brain

The group focuses on the development of microchip electrophoresis-based separation methods to monitor biomarkers of conditions such as cerebral ischemia and traumatic brain injury (TBI). Any change in energy homeostasis and/or the excitatory and inhibitory transmission (E/I balance) in the brain can have short and/or long term effects. In order to monitor these processes, microchip electrophoresis with electrochemical detection is utilized. In the first method, adenosine and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) are two important markers of energy homeostasis in the brain during ischemia and TBI and are present endogenously in low-nanomolar concentrations. The second method monitors the changes in catecholamine neurotransmission (dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, and etc.) and their metabolites via online microchip electrophoresis with electrochemical detection. Modulating these neurotransmitters to obtain E/I balance in clinical studies is of high interest in TBI patients along with ischemia, Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.

In order to monitor the neuroactive amines in brain microdialysate of TBI patients, a portable online microchip electrophoresis (ME) system with electrochemical detection is currently being developed in the group. Variation of glutamate, which is the main excitatory neurotransmitter of the E/I system, and aspartate in the extracellular space of the brain, along with other amino acid neurotransmitters, is known to be a predictive indicator of patient outcome after severe TBI.