Fluorescent probes for the detection of disease-associated biomarkers

Wei Tao Dou, Hai Hao Han, Adam C. Sedgwick, Guo Biao Zhu, Yi Zang, Xin Rong Yang, Juyoung Yoon, Tony D. James, Jia Li, Xiao Peng He

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


Fluorescent probes have emerged as indispensable chemical tools to the field of chemical biology and medicine. The ability to detect intracellular species and monitor physiological processes has not only advanced our knowledge in biology but has provided new approaches towards disease diagnosis. In this review, we detail the design criteria and strategies for some recently reported fluorescent probes that can detect a wide range of biologically important species in cells and in vivo. In doing so, we highlight the importance of each biological species and their role in biological systems and for disease progression. We then discuss the current problems and challenges of existing technologies and provide our perspective on the future directions of the research area. Overall, we hope this review will provide inspiration for researchers and prove as useful guide for the development of the next generation of fluorescent probes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)853-878
Number of pages26
JournalScience Bulletin
Issue number8
StatePublished - 30 Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Xiao-Peng He thanks the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21788102, 91853201), the Shanghai Municipal Science and Technology Major Project (2018SHZDZX03), the International Cooperation Program of Shanghai Science and Technology Committee (17520750100), the Projects from the Shanghai Science and Techonology Commission (19441905000), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (222201717003), and the Programme of Introducing Talents of Discipline to Universities (B16017) for financial support. Wei-Tao Dou would like to thank the National Natural Science Foundation of China (22107028), National Postdoctoral Program for Innovative Talents (BX20190115), Shanghai Post-doctoral Excellence Program (2019044), and China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2020M681206) for financial support. Hai-Hao Han would like to thank the Project funded by China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2020M681196). Tony D. James wishes to thank the Royal Society for a Wolfson Research Merit Award and the Open Research Fund of the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Henan Normal University for support (2020ZD01).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Science China Press


  • Biomarker detection
  • Chemical biology
  • Fluorescence imaging
  • Fluorescent probes


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