Development and integration of a cortisol sensor with real-time read-out to an ambulatory microdialysis sampling system

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bristol
Department Name: Bristol Medical School


The hormone cortisol is secreted in response to physical and psychological stress and affects most tissues in the body. In health, it is secreted in a circadian rhythm, but when samples are taken frequently enough, an ultradian rhythm of pulses lasting about an hour can be seen. Large amplitude pulses produce the highs and small or no pulses the lows. The body reads these pulses - it is not just the amount of cortisol, but the pattern that affects which genes are activated. Using BBSRC funding, we developed a blood-free device for sampling cortisol. It takes frequent samples that allow us to see the pulses of cortisol. We can attach it to an individual and they go about their life. At the moment, we analyse the samples in a laboratory. We want to develop a sensor for cortisol to fit in the device, so that the results are immediately available. We have identified a molecule that detects cortisol, but need to turn this into a working sensor and integrate this with our collection device.


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