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Two-photon semiconducting polymer nanoparticles as a new platform for imaging of intracellular pH variation

Bao, Biqing, Yang, Zhenyuan, Liu, Yunfei, Xu, Yu, Gu, Bingbing, Chen, Jia, Su, Peng, Tong, Li, Wang, Lianhui
Biosensors & bioelectronics 2019 v.126 pp. 129-135
acetylcysteine, biocompatibility, biosensors, cytotoxicity, dopamine, human cell lines, hydrogen peroxide, image analysis, monitoring, nanoparticles, pH, polymers
Intracellular pH (pHi) plays a crucial role in cell physiological and pathological processes. We herein report an efficient pH-sensitive sensor based on two-photon excitable semiconducting polymer nanoparticles (PFV/PSMA-DA NPs) for pHi sensing. PFV/PSMA NPs were functionalized with redox-active dopamine (DA) and the obtained PFV/PSMA-DA NPs showed sensitive and reversible pH response over the pH range of 5.0–9.0. Owning to the high biocompatibility and pH-responsive DA, PFV/PSMA-DA NPs show low cytotoxicity and the quantification and imaging of intracellular pH changes of HeLa cells were successfully realized. Moreover, the detection of intracellular pH fluctuation induced by redox species such as NAC (N-acetylcysteine) and H2O2 was also achieved by both one- and two-photon excitation of the PFV/PSMA-DA NPs probe. This work clearly shows that nanoprobe based on two-photon PFV/PSMA-DA NPs could serve as a promising platform for quantitatively monitoring the intracellular pH fluctuations.