Corresponding Author

Ruo YUAN(yuanruo@swu.edu.cn)


Using co-reactants to enhance the luminous efficiency of luminophores is a common, convenient and effective method in the construction of the electrochemiluminescence (ECL) biosensors. However, the different methods of introducing co-reactants in the construction of the ECL biosensors will bring different amplification effects. In this review, several signal amplification methods through co-reactants are summarized: 1) Adding the co-reactants directly into the detection solution; 2) Immobilizing the co-reactants onto the electrode surface; 3) Using enzymatic reaction to generate co-reactants in situ around the electrode surface. And then, the outlook of the ECL signal amplification strategy is proposed on those bases.

Graphical Abstract


electrochemiluminescence, co-reactants, amplification, biosensors

Publication Date


Online Available Date


Revised Date


Received Date



[1] Richter M M. Electrochemiluminescence (ECL)[J]. Chemical Reviews, 2004, 104(6): 3003-3036.
[2] Knight A W. A review of recent trends in analytical applications of electrogenerated chemiluminescence[J]. TRAC-Trends in Analytical Chemistry, 1999, 18(1): 47-62.
[3] Hu L Z, Xu G B. Applications and trends in electrochemiluminescence[J]. Chemical Society Reviews, 2010, 39(8): 3275-3304.
[4] Shi H W, Wu M S, Du Y, et al. Electrochemiluminescence aptasensor based on bipolar electrode for detection of adenosine in cancer cells[J]. Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 2014, 55: 459-463.
[5] Jiang, X Y, Chai, Y Q, Wang, H J, et al. Electrochemiluminescence of luminol enhanced by the synergetic catalysis of hemin and silver nanoparticles for sensitive protein detection[J]. Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 2014, 54: 20-26.
[6] Zhang P, Wu X Y, Chai Y Q, et al. An electrochemiluminescent microRNA biosensor based on hybridization chain reaction coupled with hemin as the signal enhancer[J]. Analyst, 2014, 149(11): 2748-2753.
[7] Miao W J, Bard A J. Electrogenerated chemiluminescence. 77. DNA hybridization detection at high amplification with [Ru(bpy)3]2+-containing microspheres[J]. Analytical Chemistry, 2004, 76(18): 5379-5386.
[8] Zhou X M, Xing D, Zhu D B, et al. Magnetic bead and nanoparticle based electrochemiluminescence amplification assay for direct and sensitive measuring of telomerase activity[J]. Analytical Chemistry, 2009, 781(1): 255-261.
[9] Zanarini S, Rampazzo E, Della C L, et al. Ru(bpy)32+ covalently doped silica nanoparticles as multicenter tunable structures for electrochemiluminescence amplification[J]. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2009, 131(6): 2260-2267.
[10] Liu X Q, Shi L H, Niu W X, et al. Environmentally friendly and highly sensitive ruthenium(II) tris(2,2'-bipyridyl) electrochemiluminescent system using 2-(dibutylamino) ethanol as co-reactant[J]. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 2007, 46(3): 421-424.
[11] Crespo G, Mistlberger G, Bakker E. Electrogenerated chemiluminescence triggered by electroseparation of Ru(bpy)32+ across a supported liquid membrane[J]. Chemical Communications, 2011, 47: 11644-11646.
[12] Kodamatani H, Komatsu Y, Yamazaki S, et al. Electrogenerated chemiluminescence reaction of tris(2,2'-bipyridine)ruthenium(II) with 2,5-dimethylthiophene as co-reactant in aqueous solution[J]. Analytica Chimica Acta, 2008, 622(1/2): 119-125.
[13] Li F, Cui H, Lin X Q. Potential-resolved electrochemiluminescence of Ru(bpy)32+/C2O42- system on gold electrode[J]. Luminescence, 2002, 17(2): 117-122.
[14] Wu M S, Yuan D J, Xu J J, et al. Sensitive electrochemiluminescence biosensor based on Au-ITO hybrid bipolar electrode amplification system for cell surface protein detection[J]. Analytical Chemistry, 2013, 85(24): 11960-11965.
[15] Xu S J, Liu Y, Wang T H, et al. Positive potential operation of a cathodic electrogenerated chemiluminescence immunosensor based on luminol and graphene for cancer biomarker detection[J]. Analytical Chemistry, 2011, 83(10): 3817-3823.
[16] Divsar F, Ju H X. Electrochemiluminescence detection of near single DNA molecules by quantum dots-dendrimer nanocomposites for signal amplication[J]. Chemical Communications, 2011, 47: 9879-9881.
[17] Yang X, Yuan R, Chai Y Q, et al. Ru(bpy)32+-doped silica nanoparticles labeling for a sandwich-type electrochemiluminescence immunosensor[J]. Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 2010, 25: 1851-1855.
[18] Chen Y, Jiang B Y, Xiang Y, et al. Apeamer-based highly sensitive electrochemiluminescent detection of thrombin via nanoparticle layer-by-layer assembled amplification labels[J]. Chemical Communications, 2011, 47: 7758-7760.
[19] Chen Y, Xu J, Su J, et al. In situ hybridization chain reaction amplification for universal and highly sensitive electrochemiluminescent detection of DNA[J]. Analytical Chemistry, 2012, 84(18): 7750-7755.
[20] Noffsinger J B, Danielson N D. Generation of chemiluminescence upon reaction of aliphatic amines with tris(2,2′-bipyridine)ruthenium(II)[J]. Analytical Chemistry, 1987, 59(6): 865-868.
[21] Mao L, Yuan R, Chai Y Q, et al. Signal-enhancer molecules encapsulated liposome as a valuable sensing and amplification platform combining the aptasensor for ultrasensitive ECL immunoassay[J]. Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 2011, 26: 4204-4208.
[22] Gan X X, Yuan R, Chai Y Q, et al. 4-(Dimethylamino)butyric acid@PtNPs as enhancer for solid-state electrochemiluminescence aptasensor based on target-induced strand displacement[J]. Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 2012, 34: 25-29.
[23] Liao N, Zhuo Y, Chai Y Q, et al. Reagentless electrochemiluminescent detection of protein biomarker using graphene-based magnetic nanoprobes and poly-L-lysine as co-reactant[J]. Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 2013, 45: 189-194.
[24] Zhang B, Liu B Q, Tang D P, et al. DNA-based hybridization chain reaction for amplified bioelectronic signal and ultrasensitive detection of proteins[J]. Analytical Chemistry, 2012, 84(12): 5392-5399.
[25] He Y, Chai Y Q, Yuan R, et al. An ultrasensitive electrochemiluminescence immunoassay based on supersandwich DNA structure amplification with histidine as a co-reactant[J]. Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 2013, 50: 294-299.
[26] Wang H J, Yuan R, Chai, Y Q, et al. Bi-enzyme synergetic catalysisto in situ generate coreactant of peroxydisulfate solution for ultrasensitive electrochemiluminescence immunoassay[J]. Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 2012, 37: 6-10.
[27] Wang H J, Chai Y Q, Yuan R, et al. Highly enhanced electrochemiluminescent strategy for tumor biomarkers detection with in situ generation of L-homocysteine for signal amplification[J]. Analytica Chimica Acta, 2014, 815: 16-21.
[28] Liao Y H, Yuan R, Chai, Y Q, et al. In-situ produced ascorbic acid as coreactant for an ultrasensitive solid-state tris(2,2'-bipyridyl) ruthenium(II) electrochemiluminescence aptasensor[J]. Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 2011, 26: 4815-4818.
[29] Xiao L J, Chai Y Q, Wang H J, et al. Electrochemiluminescence immunosensor using poly(L-histidine) protected glucose dehydrogenase on Pt/Au bimetallic nanoparticles to in situ generate co-reactant[J]. Analyst, 2014, 139: 4044-4050.
[30] Cao Y L, Yuan R, Chai, Y Q, et al. Ultrasensitive luminol electrochemiluminescence for protein detection based on in situ generated hydrogen peroxide as coreactant with glucose oxidase anchored AuNPs@MWCNTs labeling[J]. Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 2012, 31: 305-309.
[31] Niu H, Yuan R, Chai, Y Q, et al. Highly enhanced electrochemiluminescence based on synergetic catalysis effect of enzyme and Pd nanoparticles for ultrasensitive immunoassay[J]. Chemical Communications, 2011, 47: 8397-8399.
[32] Niu H, Yuan R, Chai, Y Q, et al. Highly ampli?ed electrochemiluminescence of peroxydisulfate using bienzyme functionalized palladium nanoparticles as labels for ultrasensitive immunoassay[J]. Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 2013, 39: 296-299.
[33] Zhao M, Zhuo Y, Chai, Y Q, et al. Dual signal amplification strategy for the fabrication of an ultrasensitive electrochemiluminescenct aptasensor[J]. Analyst, 2013, 138(21): 6639-6644.
[34] Xia Y N, Yang P D, Sun Y G, et al. One-dimensional nanostructures: Synthesis, characterization, and applications[J]. Advanced Materials, 2003, 15(5): 353-389.
[35] Skrabalak S E, Chen J Y, Sun Y G, et al. Gold nanocages: Synthesis, properties, and applications[J]. Accounts of Chemical Research, 2008, 41(12): 1587-1595.
[36] Jin Y D. Multifunctional compact hybrid Au nanoshells: A new generation of nanoplasmonic probes for biosensing, imaging, and controlled release[J]. Accounts of Chemical Research, 2014, 47(1): 138-148.
[37] Wang H J, Yuan R, Chai, Y Q, et al. An ultrasensitive peroxydisulfate electrochemiluminescence immunosensor for Streptococcus suis serotype 2 based on L-cysteine combined with mimicking bi-enzyme synergetic catalysis to in situ generate coreactan[J]. Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 2013, 43: 63-68.
[38] Wang H J, Bai L J, Chai, Y Q, et al. Synthesis of multi-fullerenes encapsulated palladium nanocage, and its application in electrochemiluminescence immunosensors for the detection of streptococcus suis serotype 2[J]. Small, 2014, 10(9): 1857-1865.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.