Development of Chemical Tools for Imaging of Fe(II) Ions in Living Cells: A Review

Acta Histochem Cytochem. 2018 Oct 31;51(5):137-143. doi: 10.1267/ahc.18015. Epub 2018 Oct 30.


Intracellular labile iron is an iron species which is not or weakly bound to proteins and depicts an important effect on homeostatic regulation in cells. An excess or deficiency of iron can cause oxidative damage to key cellular biomolecules. The behavior and concentrations of labile iron are difficult to monitor, but the specific redox state of the Fe ions is relevant to the physiological and pathological properties that we would like to study. We have developed a series of turn-on type fluorescent probes that are highly selective to the labile Fe(II) ions, and we have tested their applications to cellular level imaging. These probes are based on N-oxide chemistry with a range of fluorophores that depict optimal performance for specific applications. Herein, I review the recent progress of our research and discuss prospects for future work to understand the relation between intracellular ion and oxidative stress.

Keywords: fluorescence imaging; fluorescent probe; iron; oxidative stress.