Hydrocyanines: a versatile family of probes for imaging radical oxidants in vitro and in vivo
The hydrocyanines are a class of dyes that can detect reactive oxygen species (ROS) in cell culture, tissue explants, and in vivo. The hydrocyanines selectively react with radical oxidants, such as superoxide via an amine oxidation mechanism to generate cyanine dyes, thereby imaging ROS. The hydrocyanines can detect nanomolar levels of cellular ROS with tunable emission wavelengths between 560–830 nm. The hydrocyanine dyes have excellent stability against auto-oxidation and can be easily synthesized, and this enabled their rapid commercialization. Herein, we discuss in detail the properties of the hydrocyanine dyes and their current applications across biology and medicine.