Nanopore film based enrichment and quantification of low abundance hepcidin from human bodily fluids

Nanomedicine. 2014 Jul;10(5):879-88. doi: 10.1016/j.nano.2014.02.005. Epub 2014 Feb 22.


Endogenous peptides that represent biological and pathological information of disease have attracted interest for diagnosis. However, the extraction of those low abundance peptides is still a challenge because of the complexity of human bodily fluids (HBF). Hepcidin, a peptide hormone, has been recognized as a biomarker for iron-related diseases. There is no rapid and reliable way to enrich them from HBF. Here we describe a peptide extraction approach based on nanoporous silica thin films to successfully detect hepcidin from HBF. Cooperative functions of nanopore to biomolecule, including capillary adsorption, size-exclusion and electrostatic interaction, were systematically investigated to immobilize the target peptide. To promote this new approach to clinical practices, we further applied it to successfully assay the hepcidin levels in HBF provided by healthy volunteers and patients suffering from inflammation. Our finding provides a high-throughput, rapid, label-free and cost-effective detection method for capturing and quantifying low abundance peptides from HBF.

From the clinical editor: Diagnosing diseases with low concentration peptide biomarkers remains challenging. This team of authors describes a peptide extraction approach based on nanoporous silica thin films to successfully detect low concentrations of hepcidin from human body fluids collected from 119 healthy volunteers and 19 inflammation patients.

Keywords: Biomarker discovery; Hepcidin; MALDI-TOF MS; Nanoporous silica film; Peptide.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / analysis*
  • Body Fluids / chemistry*
  • Hepcidins / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Membranes, Artificial
  • Nanopores*
  • Peptides / chemistry
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization


  • Biomarkers
  • Hepcidins
  • Membranes, Artificial
  • Peptides