Non-enzymatic electrochemical cholesterol sensor based on strong host-guest interactions with a polymer of intrinsic microporosity (PIM) with DFT study

Negin Jahani, Mandana Amiri, Mina Ghiasi, Hamideh Imanzadeh, Rabah Boukherroub, Sabine Szunerits, Frank Marken, Neil B. McKeown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Advances in materials science have accelerated the development of diagnostic tools with the last decade witnessing the development of enzyme-free sensors, owing to the improved stability, low cost and simple fabrication of component materials. However, the specificity of non-enzymatic sensors for certain analytes still represents a challenging task, for example the determination of cholesterol level in blood is vital due to its medical relevance. In this work, a reagent displacement assay for cholesterol sensing in serum samples was developed. It is based on coating of a glassy carbon electrode with a polymer of intrinsic microporosity (PIM) that forms a host-guest complex with methylene blue (MB). In the presence of cholesterol, the MB electroactive probe was displaced due to the stronger association of cholesterol guest to the PIM host. The decrease in the oxidative current was proportional to the cholesterol concentration achieving a detection limit of approximately 0.1 nM. Moreover, to further assist the experimental studies, comprehensive theoretical calculations are also performed by using density functional theory (DFT) calculations. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
Article number72
JournalAnalytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
Early online date31 Aug 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 Aug 2021


  • Cholesterol
  • DFT calculations
  • Electrochemical sensor
  • Methylene blue
  • Polymer of intrinsic microporosity (PIM)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry

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