In vivo monitoring tissue regeneration by a ratiometric lysosomal AIE probe
Tissue regeneration is a crucial self-renewal capability involving many complex biological processes. Although transgenic techniques and fluorescence immunohistochemical staining have promoted our understanding of tissue regeneration, simultaneous quantification and visualization of tissue regeneration processes is not easy to achieve. Herein, we developed a simple and quantitative method for the real-time and non-invasive observation of the process of tissue regeneration. The synthesized ratiometric aggregation-induced-emission (AIE) probe exhibits high selectivity and reversibility for pH responses, good ability of mapping lysosomal pH both in vitro and in vivo, good biocompatibility and excellent photostability. The caudal fin regeneration of a fish model (medaka larvae) was monitored by tracking the lysosomal pH change. It was found that the mean lysosomal pH is reduced during 24–48 hpa to promote the autophagic activity for cell debris degradation. Our research can quantify the changes in mean lysosomal pH and also exhibit its distribution during the caudal fin regeneration. We believe that the AIE-active lysosomal pH probe can also be potentially used for long-term tracking of various lysosome-involved biological processes, such as tracking the stress responses of tissue, tracking the inflammatory responses, and so on.