Assessment of Binding Affinity between Drugs and Human Serum Albumin Using Nanoporous Anodic Alumina Photonic Crystals

In this study, we report an innovative approach aiming to assess the binding affinity between drug molecules and human serum albumin by combining nanoporous anodic alumina rugate filters (NAA-RFs) modified with human serum albumin (HSA) and reflectometric interference spectroscopy (RIfS). NAA-RFs are photonic crystal structures produced by sinusoidal pulse anodization of aluminum that present two characteristic optical parameters, the characteristic reflection peak (λ<sub>Peak</sub>), and the effective optical thickness of the film (OT<sub>eff</sub>), which can be readily used as sensing parameters. A design of experiments strategy and an ANOVA analysis are used to establish the effect of the anodization parameters (i.e., anodization period and anodization offset) on the sensitivity of HSA-modified NAA-RFs toward indomethacin, a model drug. To this end, two sensing parameters are used, that is, shifts in the characteristic reflection peak (<i>Δλ</i><sub>Peak</sub>) and changes in the effective optical thickness of the film (ΔOT<sub>eff</sub>). Subsequently, optimized NAA-RFs are used as sensing platforms to determine the binding affinity between a set of drugs (i.e., indomethacin, coumarin, sulfadymethoxine, warfarin, and salicylic acid) and HSA molecules. Our results verify that the combination of HSA-modified NAA-RFs with RIfS can be used as a portable, low-cost, and simple system for establishing the binding affinity between drugs and plasma proteins, which is a critical factor to develop efficient medicines for treating a broad range of diseases and medical conditions.