Quantitative real-time imaging of glutathione

Nat Commun. 2017 Jul 13:8:16087. doi: 10.1038/ncomms16087.


Glutathione plays many important roles in biological processes; however, the dynamic changes of glutathione concentrations in living cells remain largely unknown. Here, we report a reversible reaction-based fluorescent probe-designated as RealThiol (RT)-that can quantitatively monitor the real-time glutathione dynamics in living cells. Using RT, we observe enhanced antioxidant capability of activated neurons and dynamic glutathione changes during ferroptosis. RT is thus a versatile tool that can be used for both confocal microscopy and flow cytometry based high-throughput quantification of glutathione levels in single cells. We envision that this new glutathione probe will enable opportunities to study glutathione dynamics and transportation and expand our understanding of the physiological and pathological roles of glutathione in living cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Fluorescent Dyes*
  • Fluorometry / methods*
  • Glutathione / analysis*
  • Glutathione / chemistry
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Single-Cell Analysis


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Glutathione