Fighting Parkinson's with carbon nanoparticles

November 29, 2011
Fighting Parkinson's with carbon nanoparticles

One of the problems affecting the human nervous system is dopamine deficiency. But testing of dopamine concentration is costly and requires sophisticated equipment not available in a doctor's office. Enter a team of Polish scientists who developed a method enabling the detection of dopamine in solutions both easily and cheaply, even in the presence of interferences. The results are published in the journal Biosensors and Bioelectronics.

Scientists at the Institute of of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IPC PAS) in Warsaw coated new with carbon nanoparticles deposited on silicate submicroparticles to get the targeted result. They applied the electrodes so as to determine dopamine concentration in solutions in the presence of uric and ascorbic acids, and paracetamol, substances that get in the way of dopamine analysis.

This latest development to detect dopamine could clear the path for securing fast and inexpensive that doctors can use even in their offices. This information will help physicians determine the likelihood of a patient suffering from popular including Parkinson's disease.

The researchers developed the electrodes by alternating layers of silicate submicroparticles and carbon nanoparticles. According to the team, the size of the silicate submicroparticles ranges from 100 nanometres to 300 nanometres (billionth parts of a metre). Being nonconductive, they are used only as a framework extending the electrode surface. Carbon nanoparticles, ranging between 8 nanometres and 18 nanometres in size, densely coat the that form the actual conductive working surface.

"Carbon nanoparticles have negatively charged , and the silicates positively charged ones," explains doctoral student Anna Celebanska of the IPC PAS. "The between them are quite strong. We checked that by multiple repeating of the immersion, a "sandwich" consisting of up to 24 layers can be obtained on the electrode surface."

The scientists applied the new electrodes for dopamine sensing in solutions. The carbon nanoparticle-coated electrodes are placed inside a prepared solution containing the same, and the electric potential is then applied. They say dopamine is electrochemically active and can be oxidized by adjusting the potential value.

"The results of the completed tests turned out very good," Ms. Celebanska says. "Our method is among the most sensitive methods for dopamine sensing. It allows to detect dopamine at concentrations as low as 10-7 mole per litre in the presence of interferences at concentrations up to 10-3 mole per liter."

Commenting on the results of the study, Professor Marcin Opallo says: "The method has a natural detection threshold, and that's why we can conclude on dopamine deficiency in the body. How large is the actual deficiency? At present we cannot answer the question. We hope, however, for further increase in the method's sensitivity."

Explore further: Dopamine-related drugs affect reward-seeking behavior

More information: Biosensors and Bioelectronics:

Related Stories

Dopamine-related drugs affect reward-seeking behavior

April 26, 2007

Drugs that adjust dopamine levels in the brain greatly affect how people react to success and failure, according to research that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 59th Annual Meeting in Boston.

Adult ADHD linked with dopamine levels

August 9, 2007

Adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder have a reduced response to the drug Ritalin, U.S. government scientists have found.

Recommended for you

Physicists develop new technique to fathom 'smart' materials

November 26, 2015

Physicists from the FOM Foundation and Leiden University have found a way to better understand the properties of manmade 'smart' materials. Their method reveals how stacked layers in such a material work together to bring ...

Mathematicians identify limits to heat flow at the nanoscale

November 24, 2015

How much heat can two bodies exchange without touching? For over a century, scientists have been able to answer this question for virtually any pair of objects in the macroscopic world, from the rate at which a campfire can ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.