Bio nanosensor can aid in depression diagnosis

Depression has been linked to the imbalance of neurotransmitters in the body, genetic predisposition, endocrine abnormalities, stress, personality characteristics, and interpersonal problems.  Neurotransmitters are secreted at nerve endings and transmit information to other nerves, but patients with depression experience signal reduction or confusion regarding this secretion.  Serotonin, noradrenaline, and dopamine are the main neurotransmitters that affect depression.  Among them, serotonin has a great influence on the control of one’s emotions, appetite, and sleep and is particularly involved in making individuals feel happy and reducing depression and anxiety.  Thus, it is widely used as antidepressants and for treating anxiety disorders.

Serotonin is commonly collected in blood samples; however, it takes a long time to analyze and requires specialized equipment or manpower, making it difficult for the general public to measure it independently.

Against this backdrop, the research team produced a bio-probe that selectively responded to serotonin and combined it with highly conductive nanofibers to develop a bio nano-sensor that can detect trace amounts of serotonin concentration.  The electrical signal generated by the sensor reacts to serotonin and can be checked on the monitor in real-time so that its concentration in the body can easily be measured.  The sensor showed a high level of reliability even in effectiveness evaluation in artificial body fluids containing serotonin, confirming its applicability in clinical trials.  “Real-time monitoring of serotonin has enabled us to observe not only the effect of serotonin on the body’s function but also the changes in secretion in response to harmful external stimuli,” said Dr. Kwon Oh-seok, who led the research.  “We expect to apply it to self-diagnosis and point-of-care diagnosis.”

The study was published in the online edition of Nano Convergence on 12 JUL 2022.

REFERENCE:  Korea Biomedical Review; 18 AUG 2022; Marianne Chang

Leave a Comment