A novel near-infrared fluorescence imaging probe for in vivo neutrophil tracking

Mol Imaging. Sep-Oct 2012;11(5):372-82.


The development and validation of a multiscopic near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) probe, cinnamoyl-F-(D)L-F-(D)L-F-PEG-cyanine7 (cFlFlF-PEG-Cy7), that targets formyl peptide receptor on neutrophils using a mice ear inflammation model is described. Acute inflammation was induced in mice by topical application of phorbol-12-myristate-13-acetate to left ears 24 hours before probe administration. Noninvasive NIRF imaging was longitudinally performed up to 24 hours following probe injection. The in vivo neutrophil-targeting specificity of the probe was characterized by a blocking study with preadministration of excess nonfluorescent peptide cFlFlF-PEG and by an imaging study with a scrambled peptide probe cLFFFL-PEG-Cy7. NIRF imaging of mice injected with cinnamoyl-L-F-F-F-L-PEG-cyanine7 (cFlFlF-PEG-Cy7) revealed that the fluorescence intensity for inflamed left ears was approximately fourfold higher than that of control right ears at 24 hours postinjection. In comparison, the ratios acquired with the scrambled probe and from the blocking study were 1.5- and 2-fold at 24 hours postinjection, respectively. Moreover, a microscopic immunohistologic study confirmed that the NIRF signal of cFlFlF-PEG-Cy7 was associated with activated neutrophils in the inflammatory tissue. With this probe, in vivo neutrophil chemotaxis could be correlatively imaged macroscopically in live animals and microscopically at tissue and cellular levels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carbocyanines / chemistry
  • Carbocyanines / pharmacokinetics
  • Cell Tracking / methods*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fluorescent Dyes / administration & dosage
  • Fluorescent Dyes / chemistry*
  • Fluorescent Dyes / pharmacokinetics
  • Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Inflammation / chemically induced
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Luminol / chemistry
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Molecular Imaging / methods*
  • Neutrophils / chemistry
  • Neutrophils / cytology*
  • Neutrophils / immunology
  • Neutrophils / metabolism
  • Oligopeptides / chemistry
  • Oligopeptides / metabolism
  • Optical Imaging / methods*
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence
  • Spectroscopy, Near-Infrared
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Carbocyanines
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Oligopeptides
  • indotricarbocyanine
  • Luminol