Sensor arrays based on nanoparticles for early detection of kidney injury by breath samples

Morad K. Nakhleh, Haitham Amal, Hoda Awad, A'laa Gharra, Niroz Abu-Saleh, Raneen Jeries, Hossam Haick*, Zaid Abassi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The outcomes of acute kidney injury (AKI) could be severe and even lethal, if not diagnosed in its early stages and treated appropriately. Blood and urine biomarkers, currently in use as indicators for kidney function, are either inaccurate in various cases or not timely. We report on dramatic changes in exhaled breath composition, associated with kidney dysfunction after ischemic insult in rat models. Gas chromatography linked mass spectrometry examination of breath samples indicated significant elevations in the concentration of three exhaled volatile organic compounds, two to six hours after AKI was surgically induced. Relying on these findings, we introduce an array of sensors, based on organic-layer capped gold nanoparticles, sensitive to odor changes. The ability of the array to detect AKI via breath testing was examined and scored a sensitivity of 96%, only one hour after disease induction. From the Clinical Editor: In this study, organic-layer capped gold nanoparticle-based biosensors are used to analyse breath samples in an acute kidney injury model, capitalizing on the observation that specific volatile organic compounds are present in breath samples in that condition. The authors report excellent sensitivity in as little as one hour after acute kidney injury. This method, if commercialized, may replace the current blood and urine sample analysis-based tests with a more convenient, rapid and accurate nanotechnology-based method.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1767-1776
Number of pages10
JournalNanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Elsevier Inc.


  • Acute kidney injury
  • Breath test
  • Detection
  • Gold nanoparticles
  • Volatile organic compound


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