A new prodrug-derived ratiometric fluorescent probe for hypoxia: high selectivity of nitroreductase and imaging in tumor cell

Org Lett. 2011 Mar 4;13(5):928-31. doi: 10.1021/ol102975t. Epub 2011 Jan 26.


Based on the hypoxia prodrug moiety of p-nitrobenzyl, a selective ratiometric fluorescent sensor (RHP) for the detection of microenvironment hypoxia was designed and synthesized. RHP can be selectively activated by bioreductive enzymes (NTR) and results in an evident blue to green fluorescent emission wavelength change in both solution phases and in cell lines, which might be the first fluorescent ratiometric probe for hypoxia in solid tumors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Fluorescent Dyes / chemical synthesis*
  • Fluorescent Dyes / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia / diagnosis*
  • Molecular Structure
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Nitro Compounds / chemical synthesis*
  • Nitro Compounds / chemistry
  • Nitroreductases / metabolism*
  • Prodrugs / metabolism*


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Nitro Compounds
  • Prodrugs
  • Nitroreductases