You need to know why biosensors are important in indentifying neurochemicals in the blood. The term “biosensor” basically stands for biological sensor and it is device containing a biological element like an antibody/enzyme and a transducer. This bio-element will interact with analyte that is tested and the response is then converted into electrical signals by this transducer. Biosensors can be called immunosensors, chemical canaries, resonant mirrors, biochips, etc depending on their applications.
You must have heard biosensors being actively researched and developed these days. The reason is that these low-cost, sensitive, and easy-to-use biosensors can produce next-gen medications like individualized medicines and ensure point-of-care detection of disease markers. It was first used in the sixties by Lyons and Clark; this was based on oxygen electrode. Today, you can categorize then according to their detection techniques like optical, magnetic, thermal, etc. Alternately, you can divide them according to their bio-recognition element. The bio-recognition element is the antibody, enzyme, or genetic material like DNA and RNA.
Need to Develop Biosensors for Detecting Neurochemicals in Blood:
Neurochemicals like serotonin (S-HT) and dopamine (DA) are usually related to neurological disorders like epilepsy, Parkinson’s, addiction etc. So, detection of such neurochemicals in vitro and in vivo has turned out to be very important for treating these conditions. Use of nano-materials like Graphene, nano tube, and nano wires have been recommended to detect neurochemicals.
The neurochemicals refer to brain chemicals which send signals to cells from neurons. Both dopamine and serotonin are such neurochemicals; for instance, insufficient dopamine is responsible for Parkinson’s disease. Serotonin levels are likewise linked to depression and addiction. Today, biosensor probes are very sophisticated because of a combination of tech advancements in biotechnology and microelectronics.
The key aspect of neural communications in the CNS is chemical signaling. This involves amino acids and derivatives. In all age-related neuro-degenerative diseases, amino acid levels fall in the brain and leak into the blood and extra cellular space. These compounds may be used as bio-markers to understand neuronal health. So far, all measurements have been made using micro-dialysis, HPLC and proton MRS techniques. But these are time-consuming and costly; moreover, signals can get contaminated due to presence of other amino acids.
It is here that electrochemical biosensors can offer rapid measurement of metabolic changes and indicate these. So, biosensors can be novel diagnostic tools to monitor amino acid levels in various diseases. Alzheimer’s, for example, is a neurodegenerative condition where there is progressive loss of vulnerable clusters of neurons. It is an incurable disorder which typically affects the senior population. Fast responses to the initial symptoms of Alzheimer’s can ensure that treatment is started faster and it is possible to stretch the patient’s quality of life. The standard tests to detect AD are MRI, PET scans, and CSF analysis, etc. These are both costly and invasive and must be done on patients experiencing mild cognitive impairment. This is why you need to develop low-cost testing tools that are suitable for a diagnosis in all AD stages. It is here that novel biosensors can offer a promising alternative to the existing available diagnostic methods.