Methods for Acrolein Detection: Recent Advances and Applications

Keywords: Acrolein, Click reaction, Fluorescence, Oxidative stress, Phenyl Azide


Acrolein holds excellent potential as a critical biomarker in various oxidative stress-related diseases, and direct measurement of acrolein in biological systems is becoming essential to provide information for diagnosis and therapeutic purposes. In this review, we will discuss some available techniques for the detection of acrolein from biological samples. A conventional analytical method for the detection of acrolein by using high-performance liquid chromatography analysis after derivatization with 3-aminophenol is available. However, it is not suitable for high-throughput assay and inconvenient for measurement in clinical practice. On the other hand, we have recently discovered that phenyl azide can rapidly and selectively react with acrolein in a click manner to provide 4-formyl-1,2,3-triazoline through 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition. Moreover, we have successfully utilized this acrolein-azide click reaction as a simple and robust method for detecting and visualizing acrolein generated by live cells. Herein, we will describe our reaction-based acrolein sensor and its application to detect and visualize breast cancer tissues. We utilized the azide-acrolein click reaction-based method to discriminate breast cancer lesion from the normal breast gland, which resected from breast cancer patients. This method is the first example of an organic synthetic chemistry-based approach that can be used not only to visualize the cancer tissue but also to distinguish morphology of the resected tissue only within a few minutes. It has a potential clinical application for breast-conserving surgery. Furthermore, the ability to perform chemical reactions with cancer metabolites only at the desired cancer site is highly advantageous for cancer therapy.


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Author Biographies

Ambara R. Pradipta, Department of Chemical Science and Engineering, School of Materials and Chemical Technology, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan


Ambara R. Pradipta received his bachelor’s degree in 2003 from Padjadjaran University, Indonesia. He moved to Japan in 2005 to pursue graduate studies and received his Ph.D. in 2011 from Osaka University. Subsequently, he worked as a postdoc at Osaka University, a researcher at RIKEN, and a visiting lecturer at Tokyo Medical and Dental University. In 2020, he was appointed as an Assistant Professor in Professor Katsunori Tanaka’s group at the Tokyo Institute of Technology while also work as a visiting scientist at RIKEN. His research interests focus on the interface between bioorganic chemistry and life science.

Katsunori Tanaka, Department of Chemical Science and Engineering, School of Materials and Chemical Technology, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan


Katsunori Tanaka received his Ph.D. in 2002 from Kwansei Gakuin University. After a postdoc at Columbia University (2002–2005), he joined Osaka University as an Assistant Professor. In 2012, he moved to RIKEN as an Associate Chief Scientist. He also currently serves as Adjunct Professor at Saitama University; Professor at Kazan Federal University, Russia; Group Director of Max Planck-RIKEN Joint Center for Chemical Biology Research; and Deputy Team Leader in the GlycoTargeting Research Team, RIKEN. In 2017, he became a Chief Scientist. In 2019, as part of a joint appointment with RIKEN, he was appointed as Professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.


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Acrolein is associated with a range of oxidative stress diseases. Accordingly, developing new analytical tools of acrolein sensors that are straightforward and selective becomes a highly essential pursuit for the diagnosis and therapy purposes. Herein we reviewed several available methods to detect acrolein, including our reaction-based method that has novel applications to detect cancer from live tissues.
How to Cite
Pradipta, A. R., & Tanaka, K. (2020). Methods for Acrolein Detection: Recent Advances and Applications. Journal of the Indonesian Chemical Society, 3(2), 73.