Monitoring the Activity and Inhibition of Cholinesterase Enzymes using Single-Walled Carbon Nanotube Fluorescent Sensors

Dan Loewenthal, Dotan Kamber, Gili Bisker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cholinesterase enzymes are involved in a wide range of bodily functions, and their disruption is linked to pathologies such as neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. While cholinesterase inhibitors are used as drug treatments for diseases such as Alzheimer and dementia at therapeutic doses, acute exposure to high doses, found in pesticides and nerve agents, can be lethal. Therefore, measuring cholinesterase activity is important for numerous applications ranging from the search for novel treatments for neurodegenerative disorders to the on-site detection of potential health hazards. Here, we present the development of a near-infrared (near-IR) fluorescent single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) optical sensor for cholinesterase activity and demonstrate the detection of both acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase, as well as their inhibition. We show sub U L-1 sensitivity, demonstrate the optical response at the level of individual nanosensors, and showcase an optical signal output in the 900-1400 nm range, which overlaps with the biological transparency window. To the best of our knowledge, this is the longest wavelength cholinesterase activity sensor reported to date. Our near-IR fluorescence-based approach opens new avenues for spatiotemporal-resolved detection of cholinesterase activity, with numerous applications such as advancing the research of the cholinergic system, detecting on-site potential health hazards, and measuring biomarkers in real-time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14223-14231
Number of pages9
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number41
StatePublished - 18 Oct 2022


FundersFunder number
Zimin Institute for Engineering Solutions Advancing Better Lives
European Research Council101039127
Ministry of Science, Technology and Space3-17426
Israel Science Foundation456/18, 196/22
Tel Aviv University
Nicholas and Elizabeth Slezak Super Center for Cardiac Research and Biomedical Engineering
Ministry of Defense
Israel Institute for Biological Research


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