The detection and quantification of protein biomarkers in interstitial fluid is hampered by challenges in its sampling and analysis. Here we report the use of a microneedle patch for fast in vivo sampling and on-needle quantification of target protein biomarkers in interstitial fluid. We used plasmonic fluor—an ultrabright fluorescent label—to improve the limit of detection of various interstitial fluid protein biomarkers by nearly 800-fold compared with conventional fluorophores, and a magnetic backing layer to implement conventional immunoassay procedures on the patch and thus improve measurement consistency. We used the microneedle patch in mice for minimally invasive evaluation of the efficiency of a cocaine vaccine, for longitudinal monitoring of the levels of inflammatory biomarkers, and for efficient sampling of the calvarial periosteum—a challenging site for biomarker detection—and the quantification of its levels of the matricellular protein periostin, which cannot be accurately inferred from blood or other systemic biofluids. Microneedle patches for the minimally invasive collection and analysis of biomarkers in interstitial fluid might facilitate point-of-care diagnostics and longitudinal monitoring.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-76
Number of pages13
JournalNature Biomedical Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


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