Precision assessment of biofluid viscosity measurements using molecular rotors

Walter J. Akers, Mark A. Haidekker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Blood viscosity changes with many pathologic conditions, but its importance has not been fully investigated because the current methods of measurement are poorly suited for clinical applications. The use of viscosity-sensitive fluorescent molecular rotors to determine fluid viscosity in a nonmechanical manner has been investigated recently, but it is unknown how the precision of the fluorescence-based method compares to established mechanical viscometry. Human blood plasma viscosity was modulated with high-viscosity plasma expanders, dextran, pentastarch, and hetastarch. The samples were divided into a calibration and a test set. The relationship between fluorescence emission and viscosity was established using the calibration set. Viscosity of the test set was determined by fluorescence and by cone-and-plate viscometer, and the precision of both methods compared. Molecular rotor fluorescence intensity showed a power law relationship with solution viscosity. Mechanical measurements deviated from the theoretical viscosity value by less than 7.6%, while fluorescence-based measurements deviated by less than 6%. The average coefficient of variation was 6.9% (mechanical measurement) and 3.4% to 3.8% (fluorescence-based measurement, depending on the molecular rotor used). Fluorescence-based viscometry exhibits comparable precision to mechanical viscometry. Fluorescence viscometry does not apply shear and is therefore more practical for biofluids which have apparent non-Newtonian properties. In addition, fluorescence instrumentation makes very fast serial measurements possible, thus promising new areas of application in laboratory and clinical settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)450-454
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Biomechanical Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Physiology (medical)


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