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2D luminescence imaging of pH in vivo

Schreml, Stephan, Meier, Robert J., Wolfbeis, Otto S., Landthaler, Michael, Szeimies, Rolf-Markus, Babilas, Philipp
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2011 v.108 no.6 pp. 2432-2437
biocompatibility, biomedical research, dyes, humans, hydrocolloids, image analysis, in vivo studies, luminescence, metabolism, pH, polyacrylonitrile, polyurethanes, ruthenium, tissue repair
Luminescence imaging of biological parameters is an emerging field in biomedical sciences. Tools to study 2D pH distribution are needed to gain new insights into complex disease processes, such as wound healing and tumor metabolism. In recent years, luminescence-based methods for pH measurement have been developed. However, for in vivo applications, especially for studies on humans, biocompatibility and reliability under varying conditions have to be ensured. Here, we present a referenced luminescent sensor for 2D high-resolution imaging of pH in vivo. The ratiometric sensing scheme is based on time-domain luminescence imaging of FITC and ruthenium(II)tris-(4,7-diphenyl-1,10-phenanthroline). To create a biocompatible 2D sensor, these dyes were bound to or incorporated into microparticles (aminocellulose and polyacrylonitrile), and particles were immobilized in polyurethane hydrogel on transparent foils. We show sensor precision and validity by conducting in vitro and in vivo experiments, and we show the versatility in imaging pH during physiological and chronic cutaneous wound healing in humans. Implementation of this technique may open vistas in wound healing, tumor biology, and other biomedical fields.