Acid-base disorders disrupt proper cellular functions, which are associated with diverse diseases. Development of highly sensitive pH probes being capable of detecting and monitoring the minor changes of pH environment in living systems is of considerable interest to diagnose disease as well as investigate biochemical processes in vivo. We report herein two novel high-resolution ratiometric two-photon (TP) fluorescent probes, namely, PSIOH and PSIBOH derived from carbazole-oxazolidine π-conjugated system for effective sensing and monitoring acid pH in a biological system. Remarkably, PSIOH exhibited the largest emission shift of ∼169 nm from 435 to 604 nm upon pH changing from basic to acidic with an ideal pKa value of 6.6 within a linear pH variation range of 6.2-7.0, which is highly desirable for high-resolution tracking and imaging the minor fluctuation of pH in live cells and tissues. PSIOH also exhibits high pH sensitivity, excellent photostability, and reversibility as well as low cytotoxicity. More importantly, this probe was successfully applied to (i) sense and visualize the pH alteration in HeLa cells caused by various types of exogenous stimulation and (ii) detect and differentiate cancer and tumors in liver tissues and a mouse model, realizing its practical in vitro and in vivo applications.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Analytical Chemistry