Medical fluorophore 1 (MF1), a benzoquinolizinium-based fluorescent dye, as an inflammation imaging agent†
Structure-based targeting of fluorescent dyes is essential for their use as imaging agents for disease diagnosis. Here, we describe the development of the benzoquinolizinium compound Medical fluorophore 1 (MF1) as a novel biomedical imaging agent that allows the visualization of inflammation by virtue of its unique chemical structure. Lipopolysaccharide treatment stimulated the uptake of MF1 by bone marrow-derived macrophages, with no adverse effects on cell proliferation. In vivo fluorescence lifetime imaging revealed the accumulation of MF1 in carrageenan-induced acute inflammatory lesions in mice, which peaked at 6 h. MF1-based imaging also allowed monitoring of the response to the anti-inflammatory drugs dexamethasone and sulfasalazine. Thus, MF1 can be used to diagnose diseases characterized by inflammation as well as treatment efficacy.