Tissue-Integrating Oxygen Sensors: Continuous Tracking of Tissue Hypoxia

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2017;977:377-383. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-55231-6_49.


We describe a simple method of tracking oxygen in real-time with injectable, tissue-integrating microsensors. The sensors are small (500 μm × 500 μm × 5 mm), soft, flexible, tissue-like, biocompatible hydrogel s that have been shown to overcome the foreign body response for long-term sensing. The sensors are engineered to change luminescence in the presence of oxygen or other analytes and function for months to years in the body. A single injection followed by non-invasive monitoring with a hand-held or wearable Bluetooth optical reader enables intermittent or continuous measurements. Proof of concept for applications in high altitude, exercise physiology, vascular disease, stroke, tumors, and other disease states have been shown in mouse, rat and porcine models. Over 90 sensors have been studied to date in humans. These novel tissue-integrating sensors yield real-time insights in tissue oxygen fluctuations for research and clinical applications.

Keywords: Biosensor; Fluorescence; Hydrogel; Luminescence; Metabolism.

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

  • Animals
  • Biosensing Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Biosensing Techniques / methods*
  • Foreign-Body Reaction / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia / diagnosis*
  • Hypoxia / metabolism
  • Injections
  • Mice
  • Monitoring, Physiologic* / instrumentation
  • Monitoring, Physiologic* / methods
  • Oximetry / instrumentation
  • Oximetry / methods
  • Oxygen / analysis*
  • Oxygen / metabolism
  • Polyhydroxyethyl Methacrylate / chemistry
  • Rats
  • Swine


  • Polyhydroxyethyl Methacrylate
  • Oxygen