A Class of Activatable NIR-II Photoacoustic Dyes for High-Contrast Bioimaging

Jiangfeng Li, Jiangyan Wang, Lizhen Xu, Hanwen Chi, Xing Liang, Juyoung Yoon, Weiying Lin

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3 Scopus citations


Photoacoustic (PA) imaging is emerging as one of the important non-invasive imaging techniques in biomedical research. Small molecule- second near-infrared window (NIR-II) PA dyes combined with imaging data can provide comprehensive and in-depth in vivo physiological and pathological information. However, the NIR-II PA dyes usually exhibit “always-on” properties due to the lack of a readily optically tunable group, which hinders the further applications in vivo. Herein, a novel class of dyes GX have been designed and synthesized as an activatable NIR-II PA platform, in which the absorption/emission wavelength of GX-5 extends up to 1082/1360 nm. Importantly, the GX dyes have a strong tissue penetration depth and high-resolution for the mouse vasculature structures in NIR-II PA 3D imaging and high signal-to-noise ratio in NIR-II fluorescence (FL) imaging. Furthermore, to demonstrate the applicability of GX dyes, the first NIR-II PA probe GX-5-CO activated by carbon monoxide (CO) was engineered and employed to reveal the enhancement of the CO levels in the hypertensive mice by high-contrast NIR-II PA and FL imaging. We expect that many derivatives of GX dyes will be developed to afford versatile NIR-II PA platforms for designing a wide variety activatable NIR-II PA probes as biomedical tools.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere202312632
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number2
StatePublished - 8 Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

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© 2023 Wiley-VCH GmbH.


  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Imaging
  • NIR-II
  • Optically Tunable Group
  • Photoacoustic Dyes


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