Measuring metabolism and biophysical flux in the tissue, cellular and sub-cellular domains: recent developments in self-referencing amperometry for physiological sensing

Biosens Bioelectron. 2007 Feb 15;22(7):1186-96. doi: 10.1016/j.bios.2006.06.006. Epub 2006 Jul 25.


Ultimately, advances in genomics, proteomics and metabolomics will be realized by combining these approaches with biophysical sensors for understanding the functional and structural (physiological) aspects of sub-cellular systems (cytomics). Therefore, the emergence of the new fields of cytomics and physiomics will require new technologies to probe the functional realm of living cells. While amperometric sensors have been used, their sensitivity and reliability are significantly improved through the development of new strategies and data acquisition systems for the operation of the sensors. This includes the application of the principles of the vibrating or self-referencing microsensor to the operation of amperometric sensors. The development of self-referencing amperometry (SRA) is significant because it effectively converts static concentration sensors into dynamic biophysical sensors that directly monitor physiological flux. SRA has been developed for analytes such as O2, NO, H2O2 and ascorbate. These sensors have been validated against non-biological microscopic flux sources that were theoretically modeled, before being applied to biological research. This new sensor technology has been shown, through research in a wide variety of biological and biomedical research projects, to be an important new tool in the arsenal of the cell biologist. SRA technology has been adapted through SRA-H2O2 and SRA-NADH sensors, for electrochemically coupled enzyme based self-referencing biosensors (SRB) for glucose, glutamate and ethanol. These developments in self-referencing sensor technologies offer great promise in extending electroanalytical chemistry and biosensor technologies from the micro to the nanoscale where researchers can study physiology at the sub-cellular and organellar levels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biophysical Phenomena
  • Biophysics*
  • Biosensing Techniques* / instrumentation
  • Cell Physiological Phenomena*
  • Electrophysiology* / instrumentation
  • Humans
  • Metabolism*
  • Subcellular Fractions / physiology