High-throughput electrochemical sensing platform for screening nanomaterial-biomembrane interactions
A high-throughput, automated screening platform has been developed for the assessment of biological membrane damage caused by nanomaterials. Membrane damage is detected using the technique of analyzing capacitance-current peak changes obtained through rapid cyclic voltammetry measurements of a phospholipid self-assembled monolayer formed on a mercury film deposited onto a microfabricated platinum electrode after the interaction of a biomembrane-active species. To significantly improve wider usability of the screening technique, a compact, high-throughput screening platform was designed, integrating the monolayer-supporting microfabricated electrode into a microfluidic flow cell, with bespoke pumps used for precise, automated control of fluid flow. Chlorpromazine, a tricyclic antidepressant, and a citrate-coated 50 nm diameter gold nanomaterial (AuNM) were screened to successfully demonstrate the platform's viability for high-throughput screening. Chlorpromazine and the AuNM showed interactions with a 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DOPC) monolayer at concentrations in excess of 1 µmol dm−3. Biological validity of the electrochemically measured interaction of chlorpromazine with DOPC monolayers was confirmed through quantitative comparisons with HepG2 and A549 cytotoxicity assays. The platform also demonstrated desirable performance for high-throughput screening, with membrane interactions detected in <6 min per assay. Automation contributed to this significantly by reducing the required operating skill level when using the technique and minimizing fluid consumption.