Photoacoustic/Fluorescence Dual-Modality Probe for Biothiol Discrimination and Tumor Diagnosis in Cells and Mice

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1105–1112
Journal / PublicationACS Sensors
Issue number4
Online published31 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2022


Developing probes to simultaneously detect and discriminate biothiols is important, yet challenging. Activatable photoacoustic (PA) probes for discriminating biothiols in vivo are still lacking, and this hinders the diagnosis of thiol-related diseases. Herein we present the first PA and fluorescence dual-modality probe MB-NBD for discriminating different biothiol species. The probe has the advantages of both fluorescence imaging and PA imaging (high sensitivity and deep penetration) with distinct signal patterns toward hydrogen sulfide (H2S), cysteine/homocysteine (Cys/Hcy), and glutathione (GSH) treatment. The biothiol-activated product of MB-NBD exhibits enhancements in near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) at 690 nm and absorbance/PA at 664 nm upon fast reaction, allowing it to selectively detect biothiol species over other reactive species. On the other hand, MB-NBD displays characteristic absorbance enhancement at 547 nm toward H2S, rendering specific detection of H2S. In addition, the specific enhancements in absorbance/PA at 470 nm and fluorescence at 550 nm toward Cys/Hcy treatment endows the probe with the capability of selectively detecting Cys/Hcy. Furthermore, MB-NBD is able to discriminate Cys and GSH by fluorescent imaging in live-cell and ratiometric PA imaging in mice experiments. MB-NBD has been successfully used to diagnose tumors by dual-channel ratiometric PA imaging.

Research Area(s)

  • biothiols, fluorescence, multispectral, ratiometric photoacoustic, tumor diagnosis

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