Near-Infrared Emitting Ir(III) Complexes Bearing a Dipyrromethene Ligand for Oxygen Imaging of Deeper Tissues In Vivo

Kiichi Mizukami, Takako Muraoka, Shuichi Shiozaki, Seiji Tobita, Toshitada Yoshihara

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Phosphorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (PLIM) using a phosphorescent oxygen probe is an innovative technique for elucidating the behavior of oxygen in living tissues. In this study, we designed and synthesized an Ir(III) complex, PPYDM-BBMD, that exhibits long-lived phosphorescence in the near-infrared region and enables in vivo oxygen imaging in deeper tissues. PPYDM-BBMD has a π-extended ligand based on a meso-mesityl dipyrromethene structure and phenylpyridine ligands with cationic dimethylamino groups to promote intracellular uptake. This complex gave a phosphorescence spectrum with a maximum at 773 nm in the wavelength range of the so-called biological window and exhibited an exceptionally long lifetime (18.5 μs in degassed acetonitrile), allowing for excellent oxygen sensitivity even in the near-infrared window. PPYDM-BBMD showed a high intracellular uptake in cultured cells and mainly accumulated in the endoplasmic reticulum. We evaluated the oxygen sensitivity of PPYDM-BBMD phosphorescence in alpha mouse liver 12 (AML12) cells based on the Stern-Volmer analysis, which gave an O2-induced quenching rate constant of 1.42 × 103 mmHg-1 s-1. PPYDM-BBMD was administered in the tail veins of anesthetized mice, and confocal one-photon PLIM images of hepatic tissues were measured at different depths from the liver surfaces. The PLIM images visualized the oxygen gradients in hepatic lobules up to a depth of about 100 μm from the liver surfaces with a cellular-level resolution, allowing for the quantification of oxygen partial pressure based on calibration results using AML12 cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2794-2802
Number of pages9
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Feb 15 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry


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