A novel electrochemical sensing method was devised for the first time to detect plasma cortisol, a potential psychological stress biomarker, in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive subjects. A miniaturized potentiostat (reconfigured LMP91000 chip) interfaced with a microfluidic manifold containing a cortisol immunosensor was employed to demonstrate electrochemical cortisol sensing. This fully integrated and optimized electrochemical sensing device exhibited a wide cortisol-detection range from 10 pg/mL to 500 ng/mL, a low detection limit of 10 pg/mL, and sensitivity of 5.8 μA (pg mL)(-1), with a regression coefficient of 0.995. This cortisol-selective sensing system was employed to estimate plasma cortisol in ten samples from HIV patients. The electrochemical cortisol-sensing performance was validated using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay technique. The results obtained using both methodologies were comparable within 2%-5% variation. The information related to psychological stress of HIV patients can be correlated with disease-progression parameters to optimize diagnosis, therapeutic, and personalized health monitoring.
Keywords: HIV; cortisol; electrochemical immunosensing; miniaturized sensing device; personalized health care; psychological stress.