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Proceedings Paper

Optical detection of sepsis markers using liquid crystal based biosensors
Author(s): Maureen K. McCamley; Andrew W. Artenstein; Steven M. Opal; Gregory P. Crawford
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Paper Abstract

A liquid crystal based biosensor for the detection and diagnosis of sepsis is currently in development. Sepsis, a major clinical syndrome with a significant public health burden in the US due to a large elderly population, is the systemic response of the body to a localized infection and is defined as the combination of pathologic infection and physiological changes. Bacterial infections are responsible for 90% of cases of sepsis in the US. Currently there is no bedside diagnostic available to positively identify sepsis. The basic detection scheme employed in a liquid crystal biosensor contains attributes that would find value in a clinical setting, especially for the early detection of sepsis. Utilizing the unique properties of liquid crystals, such as birefringence, a bedside diagnostic is in development which will optically report the presence of biomolecules. In a septic patient, an endotoxin known as lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is released from the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria and can be found in the blood stream. It is hypothesized that this long chained molecule will cause local disruptions to the open surface of a sensor containing aligned liquid crystal. The bulk liquid crystal ampli.es these local changes at the surface due to the presence of the sepsis marker, providing an optical readout through polarizing microscopy images. Liquid crystal sensors consisting of both square and circular grids, 100-200 μm in size, have been fabricated and filled with a common liquid crystal material, 5CB. Homeotropic alignment was confirmed using polarizing microscopy. The grids were then contacted with either saline only (control), or saline with varying concentrations of LPS. Changes in the con.guration of the nematic director of the liquid crystal were observed through the range of concentrations tested (5mg/mL - 1pg/mL) which have been confirmed by a consulting physician as clinically relevant levels.

Paper Details

Date Published: 19 February 2007
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 6441, Imaging, Manipulation, and Analysis of Biomolecules, Cells, and Tissues V, 64411Y (19 February 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.725767
Show Author Affiliations
Maureen K. McCamley, Brown Univ. (United States)
Andrew W. Artenstein, Memorial Hospital (United States)
Steven M. Opal, Memorial Hospital (United States)
Gregory P. Crawford, Brown Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6441:
Imaging, Manipulation, and Analysis of Biomolecules, Cells, and Tissues V
Daniel L. Farkas; Robert C. Leif; Dan V. Nicolau, Editor(s)

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