In vivo imaging of hydrogen peroxide with chemiluminescent nanoparticles

Nat Mater. 2007 Oct;6(10):765-9. doi: 10.1038/nmat1983. Epub 2007 Aug 19.


The overproduction of hydrogen peroxide is implicated in the development of numerous diseases and there is currently great interest in developing contrast agents that can image hydrogen peroxide in vivo. In this report, we demonstrate that nanoparticles formulated from peroxalate esters and fluorescent dyes can image hydrogen peroxide in vivo with high specificity and sensitivity. The peroxalate nanoparticles image hydrogen peroxide by undergoing a three-component chemiluminescent reaction between hydrogen peroxide, peroxalate esters and fluorescent dyes. The peroxalate nanoparticles have several attractive properties for in vivo imaging, such as tunable wavelength emission (460-630 nm), nanomolar sensitivity for hydrogen peroxide and excellent specificity for hydrogen peroxide over other reactive oxygen species. The peroxalate nanoparticles were capable of imaging hydrogen peroxide in the peritoneal cavity of mice during a lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammatory response. We anticipate numerous applications of peroxalate nanoparticles for in vivo imaging of hydrogen peroxide, given their high specificity and sensitivity and deep-tissue-imaging capability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Contrast Media / chemistry*
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / pharmacokinetics*
  • Luminescent Measurements / methods*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence / methods*
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Particle Size
  • Whole Body Imaging / methods*


  • Contrast Media
  • Hydrogen Peroxide