3D Printed Hydrogel Microneedle Arrays for Interstitial Fluid Biomarker Extraction and Colorimetric Detection

Polymers (Basel). 2023 Mar 10;15(6):1389. doi: 10.3390/polym15061389.


To treat and manage chronic diseases, it is necessary to continuously monitor relevant biomarkers and modify treatment as the disease state changes. Compared to other bodily fluids, interstitial skin fluid (ISF) is a good choice for identifying biomarkers because it has a molecular composition most similar to blood plasma. Herein, a microneedle array (MNA) is presented to extract ISF painlessly and bloodlessly. The MNA is made of crosslinked poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate (PEGDA), and an optimal balance of mechanical properties and absorption capability is suggested. Besides, the effect of needles' cross-section shape on skin penetration is studied. The MNA is integrated with a multiplexed sensor that provides a color change in a biomarker concentration-dependent manner based on the relevant reactions for colorimetric detection of pH and glucose biomarkers. The developed device enables diagnosis by visual inspection or quantitative red, green, and blue (RGB) analysis. The outcomes of this study show that MNA can successfully identify biomarkers in interstitial skin fluid in a matter of minutes. The home-based long-term monitoring and management of metabolic diseases will benefit from such practical and self-administrable biomarker detection.

Keywords: 3D printing; biomarker; detection; hydrogel; interstitial fluid; microneedle; microneedle array.

Grant support

This research was supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD), the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), and the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI).