A turn-on fluorescent probe for tumor hypoxia imaging in living cells†
A novel “turn-on” fluorescent probe HP for hypoxia imaging was designed and synthesized based on rhodamine B and a naphthalimide fluorophore. The fluorescence of HP is very weak owing to the FRET effect from rhodamine B to the azo-naphthalimide unit. Under hypoxia conditions, the azo-bond is reduced and the fluorescence at 581 nm enhances dramatically as a result of disintegration of the quencher structure. Verified by the cyclic voltammetry reduction potential and proposed product HPN, the probe HP could undergo the chemical and cytochrome P450 enzymatic reduction quickly. When cultured with HeLa cells, HP showed remarkable fluorescence differences at various oxygen concentrations, and the ratio of fluorescence intensity between hypoxic and normoxic cells could reach 9 fold.