Raman spectroscopy-based sensitive and specific detection of glycated hemoglobin

Anal Chem. 2012 Mar 6;84(5):2474-82. doi: 10.1021/ac203266a. Epub 2012 Feb 23.


In recent years, glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) has been increasingly accepted as a functional metric of mean blood glucose in the treatment of diabetic patients. Importantly, HbA1c provides an alternate measure of total glycemic exposure due to the representation of blood glucose throughout the day, including post-prandially. In this article, we propose and demonstrate the potential of Raman spectroscopy as a novel analytical method for quantitative detection of HbA1c, without using external dyes or reagents. Using the drop coating deposition Raman (DCDR) technique, we observe that the nonenzymatic glycosylation (glycation) of the hemoglobin molecule results in subtle but discernible and highly reproducible changes in the acquired spectra, which enable the accurate determination of glycated and nonglycated hemoglobin using standard chemometric methods. The acquired Raman spectra display excellent reproducibility of spectral characteristics at different locations in the drop and show a linear dependence of the spectral intensity on the analyte concentration. Furthermore, in hemolysate models, the developed multivariate calibration models for HbA1c show a high degree of prediction accuracy and precision--with a limit of detection that is a factor of ~15 smaller than the lowest physiological concentrations encountered in clinical practice. The excellent accuracy and reproducibility achieved in this proof-of-concept study opens substantive avenues for characterization and quantification of the glycosylation status of (therapeutic) proteins, which are widely used for biopharmaceutical development. We also envision that the proposed approach can provide a powerful tool for high-throughput HbA1c sensing in multicomponent mixtures and potentially in hemolysate and whole blood lysate samples.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus / metabolism
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Spectrum Analysis, Raman*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A