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Fluorescence optical imaging is a highly sensitive and powerful tool with diverse in vitro and in vivo applications for preclinical and clinical studies. This review is focused on the optical imaging in the near-infrared (NIR) region since improved signal-to-noise ratio and deeper penetration of light through tissues could be achieved due to the minimal autofluorescence and reduced light scattering at these wavelengths. In particular, imaging agents absorbing and emitting in the biological diagnostic window (650–1450 nm) are discussed. The photophysical properties and particularities of chemical structures or compositions of four different families of probes : (i) organic fluorophores, (ii) fluorescent proteins (FPs), (iii) semi-conductor nanocrystals (quantum dots) and (iv) lanthanide(III)-based complexes and nanomaterials are presented. Advantages and drawbacks, commercial availability and toxicity as well as selected applications of these probes are discussed. A specific attention is given to lanthanide(III)-based compounds due to their unique optical properties, e.g. sharp emission bands with minimal sensitivity to the microenvironment, large differences between excitation and emission wavelengths and strong resistance toward photobleaching. The use of such probes brings additional perspectives and facilitates developments of novel strategies in optical imaging including real-time experiments and new approaches for diagnostic.
Considered at the beginning of the 21th century as being incompatible with the presence of closely bound high-energy oscillators, lanthanide-centered superexcitation, which is the raising of an already excited electron to an even higher level by excited-state energy absorption, is therefore a very active topic strictly limited to the statistical doping of low-phonon bulk solids and nanoparticles. We show here that molecular lanthanide-containing coordination complexes may be judiciously tuned to overcome these limitations and to induce near-infrared (NIR)-to-visible (VIS)-light upconversion via the successive absorption of two low-energy photons using linear-optical responses. Whereas single-ion-centered excited-state absorption mechanisms remain difficult to implement in lanthanide complexes, the skillful design of intramolecular intermetallic energy-transfer processes operating in multimetallic architectures is at the origin of the recent programming of erbium-centered molecular upconversion.
Luminescent lanthanide(III)-based molecular scaffolds hold great promises for materials science and for biological applications. Their fascinating photophysical properties enable spectral discrimination of emission bands that range from the visible to the near-infrared (NIR) regions. In addition, their strong resistance to photobleaching makes them suitable for long duration or repeated biological experiments using a broad range of sources of excitation including intense and focalized systems such as lasers (e.g., confocal microscopy). A main challenge in the creation of luminescent lanthanide(III) complexes lies in the design of a ligand framework that combines two main features : (i) it must include a chromophoric moiety that possesses a large molar absorptivity and is able to sensitize several different lanthanide(III) ions emitting in the visible and/or in the near-infrared, and (ii) it must protect the Ln3+ cation by minimizing nonradiative deactivation pathways due to the presence of −OH, −NH and −CH vibrations. Herein, a new family of luminescent Ga3+/Ln3+ metallacrown (MC) complexes is reported. The MCs with the general composition [LnGa4(shi)4(C6H5CO2)4(C5H5N) (CH3OH)] (Ln-1, Ln = Sm3+–Yb3+) were synthesized in a one pot reaction using salicylhydroxamic acid (H3shi) with Ga3+ and Ln3+ nitrates as reagents. The molecular structure of [DyGa4(shi)4(C6H5CO2)4(C5H5N) (CH3OH)] was obtained by X-ray analysis of single crystals and shows that the complex is formed as a [12-MCGa(III)shi-4] core with four benzoate molecules bridging the central Dy3+ ion to the Ga3+ ring metals. The powder X-ray diffraction analysis demonstrates that all other isolated complexes are isostructural. The extended analysis of the luminescence properties of these complexes, excited by the electronic states of the chromophoric ligands, showed the presence of characteristic, sharp f–f transitions that can be generated not only in the NIR (Sm, Dy, Ho, Er, Yb) but also in the visible (Sm, Eu, Tb, Dy, Tm). All Ln-1 complexes possess very high quantum yield values with respect to other literature compounds, indicating a good sensitization efficiency of the [12-MCGa(III)shi-4] scaffold. Especially, as of today, the Yb-1 complex exhibits the highest NIR quantum yield reported for a lanthanide(III) complex containing C–H bonds with a value of 5.88(2)% in the solid state. This work is a significant step forward toward versatile, easily prepared luminescent lanthanide(III) complexes suitable for a variety of applications including highly in demand biological imaging, especially in the NIR domain.
Full and congruent crystallization from glass is applied to the SrREGa3O7 melilite family (RE = Eu, Gd, Tb, Dy, Ho, Er, Tm, Yb and Y). This innovative process enables the synthesis of polycrystalline ceramics exhibiting high transparency both in the visible and near infrared regions, despite tetragonal crystal structures and micrometer scale grain sizes. Moreover, glass crystallization provides an original route to synthesize new crystalline phases which are not accessible via a classic solid state reaction, as demonstrated for SrYbGa3O7 and SrTmGa3O7. To illustrate the potential optical applications of such materials, SrGdGa3O7 transparent polycrystalline ceramics are doped with Dy3+ or Tb3+/Eu3+ in order to generate white light emission under UV excitation. It is foreseen that such transparent melilite ceramic phosphors, prepared via a cost-effective process, can be successfully used in solid state lighting devices of considerable technological interest.
We report first prototypes of responsive lanthanide(III) complexes that can be monitored independently in three complementary imaging modalities. Through the appropriate choice of lanthanide(III) cations, the same reactive ligand can be used to form complexes providing detection by (i) visible (Tb3+) and near-infrared (Yb3+) luminescence, (ii) PARACEST- (Tb3+, Yb3+), or (iii) T1-weighted (Gd3+) MRI. The use of lanthanide(III) ions of different natures for these imaging modalities induces only a minor change in the structure of complexes that are therefore expected to have a single biodistribution and cytotoxicity.
Most of the existing optical methods for CuII detection rely on a “turn-off” approach using visible lanthanide(III) luminescence. In this work we present an innovative molecular systems where the podands bis(2-hydrazinocarbonylphenyl) ethers of ethylene glycol (L1) and diethylene glycol (L2) have been designed, synthesised and tested with an ultimate goal to create a "turn-on" lanthanide(III)-based molecular probe for the specific detection of CuII ions based on both visible (TbIII, EuIII) and near-infrared (NdIII, YbIII) emission. Quantum yields of the characteristic LnIII emission signals increases by at least two-orders of magnitude upon addition of CuII into water/acetonitrile (9/1) solutions of LnL (L=L1, L2) complexes. A detailed investigation of ligand-centred photophysical properties of water/acetonitrile (9/1) solutions of CuL, GdL and GdCuL complexes revealed that the presence of CuII ions does not significantly affect the energy positions of the singlet (32,260 cm−1) and triplet (25,640–25,970 cm−1) states, but partially or fully eliminates the singlet state quenching through an electron transfer mechanism. This effect increases the probability of intersystem crossing leading to enhanced triplet-to-singlet emission ratio and to longer triplet state lifetimes. The redox activity of hydrazine moieties and their ability to reduce CuII to CuI has been indicated by a qualitative assay with neocuproine. Finally, the probe demonstrates a good selectivity towards CuII over other transition metal ions : the addition of divalent ZnII, CdII, PdII, NiII, CoII or trivalent FeIII, GaIII, InIII ion salts into solutions of TbL either does not affect emission intensity or increases it to a maximum of 2–3 times, while, under similar experimental conditions, the presence of CuII results in a 20- to 30-times lanthanide luminescence enhancement. This new strategy results in a versatile and selective optical platform for the design of efficient “turn-on” sensors for CuII ions based on visible and near-infrared LnIII luminescence.
Hypoxia-inducing pathologies as cancer develop pathologic and inefficient angiogenesis which rules tumor facilitating microenvironment, a key target for therapy. As such, the putative ability of endothelial precursor cells (EPCs) to specifically home to hypoxic sites of neovascularization prompted to design optimized, site-specific, cell-mediated, drug-/gene-targeting approach. Thus, EPC lines were established from aorta-gonad-mesonephros (AGM) of murine 10.5 dpc and 11.5 dpc embryo when endothelial repertoire is completed. Lines representing early endothelial differentiation steps were selected : MAgEC10.5 and MagEC11.5. Distinct in maturation, they differently express VEGF receptors, VE-cadherin and chemokine/receptors. MAgEC11.5, more differentiated than MAgEC 10.5, displayed faster angiogenesis in vitro, different response to hypoxia and chemokines. Both MAgEC lines cooperated to tube-like formation with mature endothelial cells and invaded tumor spheroids through a vasculogenesis-like process. In vivo, both MAgEC-formed vessels established blood flow. Intravenously injected, both MAgECs invaded Matrigel(TM)-plugs and targeted tumors. Here we show that EPCs (MAgEC11.5) target tumor angiogenesis and allow local overexpression of hypoxia-driven soluble VEGF-receptor2 enabling drastic tumor growth reduction. We propose that such EPCs, able to target tumor angiogenesis, could act as therapeutic gene vehicles to inhibit tumor growth by vessel normalization resulting from tumor hypoxia alleviation.
The development of efficient sensors for the determination of the water content in organic solvents is highly desirable for a number of chemical industries. Presented herein is a Mg2+ metal-organic framework (MOF), which exhibits the remarkable capability to rapidly detect traces of water (0.05-5 % v/v) in various organic solvents through an unusual turn-on luminescence sensing mechanism. The extraordinary sensitivity and fast response of this MOF for water, and its reusability make it one of the most powerful water sensors known.
This work shows that the operation of near-infrared to visible light-upconversion in a discrete molecule is not limited to non-linear optical processes, but may result from superexcitation processes using linear optics. The design of nine-coordinate metallic sites made up of neutral N-heterocyclic donor atoms in kinetically inert dinuclear [GaEr(L1)3]6+ and trinuclear [GaErGa(L2)3]9+ helicates leads to [ErN9] chromophores displaying unprecedented dual visible nanosecond Er(4S3/2—>4I15/2) and near-infrared microsecond Er(4I13/2—>4I15/2) emissive components. Attempts to induce one ion excited-state absorption (ESA) upconversion upon near-infrared excitation of these complexes failed because of the too-faint Er-centred absorption cross sections. The replacement of the trivalent gallium cation with a photophysically-tailored pseudo-octahedral [CrN6] chromophore working as a sensitizer for trivalent erbium in [CrEr(L1)3]6+ improves the near-infrared excitation efficiency, leading to the observation of a weak energy transfer upconversion (ETU). The connection of a second sensitizer in [CrErCr(L2)3]9+ generates a novel mechanism for upconversion, in which the superexcitation process is based on the CrIII-sensitizers. Two successive Cr—>Er energy transfer processes (concerted-ETU) compete with a standard Er-centred ETU, and a gain in upconverted luminescence by a factor larger than statistical values is predicted and observed.
We report the synthesis of a cyclen-based ligand (4,10-bis[(1-oxidopyridin-2-yl)methyl]-1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-1,7-diacetic acid = L1) containing two acetate and two 2-methylpyridine N-oxide arms anchored on the nitrogen atoms of the cyclen platform, which has been designed for stable complexation of lanthanide(III) ions in aqueous solution. Relaxometric studies suggest that the thermodynamic stability and kinetic inertness of the Gd-III complex may be sufficient for biological applications. A detailed structural study of the complexes by H-1 NMR spectroscopy and DFT calculations indicates that they adopt an anti-Delta(lambda lambda lambda lambda) conformation in aqueous solution, that is, an anti-square antiprismatic (anti-SAP) isomeric form, as demonstrated by analysis of the H-1 NMR paramagnetic shifts induced by Yb-III. The water-exchange rate of the Gd-III complex is k(ex)(298) = 6.7 x 10(6) s(-1), about a quarter of that for the mono-oxidopyridine analogue, but still about 50% higher than the k(ex)(298) of GdDOTA (DOTA = 1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-1,4,7,10-tetraacetic acid). The 2-methylpyridine N-oxide chromophores can be used to sensitize a wide range of Ln(III) ions emitting in both the visible (Eu-III and Tb-III) and NIR (Pr-III, Nd-III, Ho-III, Yb-III) spectral regions. The emission quantum yield determined for the Yb-III complex (Q(Yb)(L) = 7.3(1) x 10(-3)) is among the highest ever reported for complexes of this metal ion in aqueous solution. The sensitization ability of the ligand, together with the spectroscopic and relaxometric properties of its complexes, constitute a useful step forward on the way to efficient dual probes for optical imaging (OI) and MRI.
This work, based on the synthesis and analysis of chemical compounds, describes a kinetic approach for identifying intramolecular intermetallic energy-transfer processes operating in discrete polynuclear lanthanide complexes, with a special emphasis on europium-containing entities. When all coordination sites are identical in a (supra)molecular complex, only heterometallic communications are experimentally accessible and a Tb —> Eu energy transfer could be evidenced in [TbEu(L5)(hfac)6] (hfac = hexafluoroacetylacetonate), in which the intermetallic separation amounts to 12.6 A. In the presence of different coordination sites, as found in the trinuclear complex [Eu3(L2)(hfac)9], homometallic communication can be induced by selective laser excitation and monitored with the help of high-resolution emission spectroscopy. The narrow and non-degenerated character of the Eu((5)D0 <—> (7)F0) transition excludes significant spectral overlap between donor and acceptor europium cations. Intramolecular energy-transfer processes in discrete polynuclear europium complexes are therefore limited to short distances, in agreement with the Fermi golden rule and with the kinetic data collected for [Eu3(L2)(hfac)9] in the solid state and in solution. Consequently, trivalent europium can be considered as a valuable local structural probe in discrete polynuclear complexes displaying intermetallic separation in the sub-nanometric domain, a useful property for probing lanthanido-polymers.
A series of novel pyridine-based Gd3+ complexes have been prepared and studied as potential MRI contrast agents for Zn2+ detection. By independent assessment of molecular parameters affecting relaxivity, we could interpret the relaxivity changes observed upon Zn2+ binding in terms of variations of the rotational motion.
We have proposed recently that the DO3A-N-alpha-(amino) propionate chelator and its amide conjugates are leads to targeted, high relaxivity, safe contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging. In this work we illustrate further the expeditious nature and robustness of the synthetic methodologies developed by preparing the DO3A-N-(alpha-pyrenebutanamido) propionate chelator. Its Gd3+ chelate retains the optimized water exchange, high stability and inertness of the parent complex. The pyrene moiety imparts concentration- dependent self-assembly properties and aggregation-sensitive fluorescence emission to the Gd3+ complex. The Gd3+ complex displays pyrene-centred fluorescence whilst the Yb3+ and Nd3+ complexes exhibit sensitized lanthanide-centred near-infrared luminescence. The aggregated form of the complex displays high relaxivity (32 mM(-1) s(-1), 20 MHz, 25 degrees C) thanks to simultaneous optimization of the rotational correlation time and of the water exchange rate. The relaxivity is however still limited by chelate flexibility. This report demonstrates that the DO3A-N-(alpha-amino) propionate chelator is a valuable platform for constructing high relaxivity CA using simple design principles and robust chemistries accessible to most chemistry labs.
We report herein the synthesis of a luminescent polynuclear dendritic structure (SmIII-G3P-2,3Nap) in which eight SmIII ions are sensitized by thirty-two 2,3-naphthalimide chromophores. Upon a single excitation wavelength, the dendrimer complex exhibits two types of emission in the visible and in the near-infrared (NIR) ranges. SmIII-G3P-2,3Nap was non-cytotoxic after 24 h of incubation and up to 2.5 μM. The ability of the SmIII-based probe to be taken up by cells was confirmed by confocal microscopy. Epifluorescence microscopy validated SmIII-G3P-2,3Nap as a versatile probe, capable of performing interchangeably in the visible or NIR for live-cell imaging. As both emissions are obtained from a single complex, the cytotoxicity and biodistribution are inherently the same. The possibility for discriminating the sharp SmIII signals from autofluorescence in two spectral ranges increases the reliability of analysis and reduces the probability of artifacts and instrumental errors.
VEGFs are found at high levels in hypoxic tumors. As major components directing pathologic neovascularization, they regulate stromal reactions. Consequently, novel strategies targeting and inhibiting VEGF overproduction upon hypoxia offer considerable potential for modern anticancer therapies controlling rather than destroying tumor angiogenesis. Here, we report the design of a vector expressing the soluble form of VEGF receptor-2 (sVEGFR2) driven by a hypoxia-responsive element (HRE)-regulated promoter. To enable in vivo imaging by infrared visualization, mCherry and IFP1.4 coding sequences were built into the vector. Plasmid construction was validated through transfection into embryonic human kidney HEK293 and murine B16F10 melanoma cells. sVEGFR2 was expressed in hypoxic conditions only, confirming that the gene was regulated by the HRE promoter. sVEGFR2 was found to bind efficiently and specifically to murine and human VEGF-A, reducing the growth of tumor and endothelial cells as well as impacting angiogenesis in vitro. The hypoxia-conditioned sVEGFR2 expression was shown to be functional in vivo : Tumor angiogenesis was inhibited and, on stable transfection of B16F10 melanoma cells, tumor growth was reduced. Enhanced expression of sVEGFR2 was accompanied by a modulation in levels of VEGF-A. The resulting balance reflected the effect on tumor growth and on control of angiogenesis. A concomitant increase of intratumor oxygen tension also suggested an influence on vessel normalization. The possibility to express an angiogenesis regulator as sVEGFR2, in a hypoxia-conditioned manner, significantly opens new strategies for tumor vessel–controlled normalization and the design of adjuvants for combined cancer therapies. Mol Cancer Ther ; 13(1) ; 165–78. ©2013 AACR.
Near-infrared (NIR) luminescent lanthanide complexes hold great promise for practical applications, as their optical properties have several complementary advantages over organic fluorophores and semiconductor nanoparticles. The fundamental challenge for lanthanide luminescence is their sensitization through suitable chromophores. The use of the metallacrown (MC) motif is an innovative strategy to arrange several organic sensitizers at a well-controlled distance from a lanthanide cation. Herein we report a series of lanthanide ?encapsulated sandwich ? MC complexes of the form Ln3+[12-MCZn(II),quinHA-4]2[24-MCZn(II),quinHA-8] (Ln3+[Zn(II)MCquinHA]) in which the MC framework is formed by the self-assembly of Zn2+ ions and tetradentate chromophoric ligands based on quinaldichydroxamic acid (quinHA). A first-generation of luminescent MCs was presented previously but was limited due to excitation wavelengths in the UV. We report here that through the design of the chromophore of the MC assembly, we have significantly shifted the absorption wavelength toward lower energy (450 nm). In addition to this near-visible inter- and/or intraligand charge transfer absorption, Ln3+[Zn(II)MCquinHA] exhibits remarkably high quantum yields, long luminescence lifetimes (CD3OD ; Yb3+, QLnL = 2.88(2)%, τobs = 150.7(2) ?s ; Nd3+, QLnL = 1.35(1)%, τobs = 4.11(3) ?s ; Er3+, QLnL = 3.60(6)·10 ?2%, τobs = 11.40(3) ?s), and excellent photostability. Quantum yields of Nd3+ and Er3+ MCs in the solid state and in deuterated solvents, upon excitation at low energy, are the highest values among NIR-emitting lanthanide complexes containing C ?H bonds. The versatility of the MC strategy allows modifications in the excitation wavelength and absorptivity through the appropriate design of the ligand sensitizer, providing a highly efficient platform with tunable properties.
Light-upconversion via stepwise energy transfer from a sensitizer to an activator exploits linear optics for converting low-energy infrared or near-infrared incident photons to higher energy emission. This approach is restricted to activators possessing intermediate long-lived excited states such as those found for trivalent lanthanide cations dispersed in solid-state matrices. When the activator is embedded in a molecular complex, efficient nonradiative relaxation processes usually reduce excited state lifetimes to such an extent that upconversion becomes too inefficient to be detected under practical excitation intensities. Theoretical considerations presented here predict that the combination of at least two millisecond time scale sensitizers with a central lanthanide activator in supramolecular complexes circumvents this bottleneck by creating a novel upconversion pathway, in which successive excitations are stored on the sensitizers prior to inducing stepwise energy transfer processes. Application of this concept to the chromium/erbium pair demonstrates that strong-field trivalent chromium chromophores irradiated with near-infrared photons produce upconverted green erbium-centered emission in discrete dinuclear and trinuclear triple-stranded helicates.
Calcium plays a vital role in the human body and especially in the central nervous system. Precise maintenance of Ca2+ levels is very crucial for normal cell physiology and health. The deregulation of calcium homeostasis can lead to neuronal cell death and brain damage. To study this functional role played by Ca2+ in the brain noninvasively by using magnetic resonance imaging, we have synthesized a new set of Ca2+-sensitive smart contrast agents (CAs). The agents were found to be highly selective to Ca2+ in the presence of other competitive anions and cations in buffer and in physiological fluids. The structure of CAs comprises Gd3+-DO3A (DO3A=1,4,7-tris(carboxymethyl)-1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane) coupled to a Ca2+ chelator o-amino phenol-N,N,O-triacetate (APTRA). The agents are designed to sense Ca2+ present in extracellular fluid of the brain where its concentration is relatively high, that is, 1.2–0.8 mM. The determined dissociation constant of the CAs to Ca2+ falls in the range required to sense and report changes in extracellular Ca2+ levels followed by an increase in neural activity. In buffer, with the addition of Ca2+ the increase in relaxivity ranged from 100–157 %, the highest ever known for any T1-based Ca2+-sensitive smart CA. The CAs were analyzed extensively by the measurement of luminescence lifetime measurement on Tb3+ analogues, nuclear magnetic relaxation dispersion (NMRD), and 17O NMR transverse relaxation and shift experiments. The results obtained confirmed that the large relaxivity enhancement observed upon Ca2+ addition is due to the increase of the hydration state of the complexes together with the slowing down of the molecular rotation and the retention of a significant contribution of the water molecules of the second sphere of hydration.
We have created unique near-infrared (NIR)–emitting nanoscale metal-organic frameworks (nano-MOFs) incorporating a high density of Yb3+ lanthanide cations and sensitizers derived from phenylene. We establish here that these nano-MOFs can be incorporated into living cells for NIR imaging. Specifically, we introduce bulk and nano-Yb-phenylenevinylenedicarboxylate-3 (nano-Yb-PVDC-3), a unique MOF based on a PVDC sensitizer-ligand and Yb3+ NIR-emitting lanthanide cations. This material has been structurally characterized, its stability in various media has been assessed, and its luminescent properties have been studied. We demonstrate that it is stable in certain specific biological media, does not photobleach, and has an IC50 of 100 μg/mL, which is sufficient to allow live cell imaging. Confocal microscopy and inductively coupled plasma measurements reveal that nano-Yb-PVDC-3 can be internalized by cells with a cytoplasmic localization. Despite its relatively low quantum yield, nano-Yb-PVDC-3 emits a sufficient number of photons per unit volume to serve as a NIR-emitting reporter for imaging living HeLa and NIH 3T3 cells. NIR microscopy allows for highly efficient discrimination between the nano-MOF emission signal and the cellular autofluorescence arising from biological material. This work represents a demonstration of the possibility of using NIR lanthanide emission for biological imaging applications in living cells with single-photon excitation.
We describe a novel method for creating luminescent lanthanide-containing nanoparticles in which the lanthanide cations are sensitized by the semiconductor nanoparticle’s electronic excitation. In contrast to previous strategies, this new approach creates such materials by addition of external salt to a solution of fully formed nanoparticles. We demonstrate this post-synthetic modification for the lanthanide luminescence sensitization of two visible emitting lanthanides (Ln), Tb3+ and Eu3+ ions, through ZnS nanoparticles in which the cations were added post-synthetically as external Ln(NO3)3.xH2O salt to solutions of ZnS nanoparticles. The post-synthetically treated ZnS nanoparticle systems display Tb3+ and Eu3+ luminescence intensities that are comparable to those of doped Zn(Ln)S nanoparticles, which we reported previously (J. Phys. Chem. A, 2011, 115, 4031-4041). A comparison with the synthetically doped systems is used to contrast the spatial distribution of the lanthanide ions, bulk versus surface localized. The post-synthetic strategy described in this work is fundamentally different from the synthetic incorporation (doping) approach and offers a rapid and less synthetically demanding protocol for Tb3+:ZnS and Eu3+:ZnS luminophores, thereby facilitating their use in a broad range of applications.
In this work, we studied enzyme-catalyzed oxidation of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) produced by the high-pressure carbon monoxide (HiPco) method. While oxidation via strong acids introduced defect sites on SWCNTs and suppressed their near-infrared (NIR) fluorescence, our results indicated that the fluorescence of SWCNTs was restored upon enzymatic oxidation, providing new evidence that the reaction catalyzed by horseradish peroxidase (HRP) in the presence of H2O2 is mainly a defect-consuming step. These results were further supported by both UV ?vis ?NIR and Raman spectroscopy. Therefore, when acid oxidation followed by HRP-catalyzed enzyme oxidation was employed, shortened (<300 nm in length) and NIR-fluorescent SWCNTs were produced. In contrast, upon treatment with myeloperoxidase, H2O2, and NaCl, the oxidized HiPco SWCNTs underwent complete oxidation (i.e., degradation). The shortened, NIR-fluorescent SWCNTs resulting from HRP-catalyzed oxidation of acid-cut HiPco SWCNTs may find applications in cellular NIR imaging and drug delivery systems.
There is a growing interest in the development of new medical diagnostic tools with higher sensibility and less damage for the patient body, namely on imaging reporters for the management of diseases and optimization of treatment strategies. This article examines the properties of a new class of lanthanide complexes with a tripodal tris-3-hydroxy-4-pyridinone (tris-3,4-HOPO) ligand - NTP(PrHP)3. Among the studies herein performed, major relevance is given to the thermodynamic stability of the complexes with a series of Ln(3+) ions (Ln = La, Pr, Gd, Er, Lu) and to the magnetic relaxation properties of the Gd(3+) complex. This hexadentate ligand enables the formation of (1 : 1) Ln(3+) complexes with high thermodynamic stability following the usual trend, while the Gd-chelates show improved relaxivity (higher hydration number), as compared with the commercially available Gd-based contrast agents (CAs) ; transmetallation of the Gd(3+)-L complex with Zn(2+) proved to be thermodynamically and kinetically disfavored. Therefore, NTP(PrHP)3 emerges as part of a recently proposed new generation of CAs with prospective imaging sensibility gains.
This work demonstrates how minor structural and electronic changes between Ln(NO3)3 and Ln(hfac)3 lanthanide carriers (Ln = trivalent lanthanide, hfac = hexafluoroacetylacetonate) lead to opposite thermodynamic protocols for the metal loading of luminescent polynuclear single-stranded oligomers. Whereas metal clustering is relevant for Ln(hfac)3, the successive fixation of Ln(NO3)3 provides stable microspecies with an alternated occupancy of the binding sites. Partial anion dissociation and anion/ligand bi-exchange processes occur in polar aprotic solvents, which contribute to delay the unambiguous choice of a well-behaved neutral lanthanide carrier for the selective complexation of different trivalent lanthanides along a single ligand strand. Clues for further improvement along this stepwise strategy are discussed.
Near-infrared emitting, magnetic particles for combined optical and MR detection based on liposomes or artificial lipoproteins are presented. They provide a novel strategy for the luminescence sensitization of lanthanide cations (Yb3+, Nd3+) without covalent bonds between the chromophore and the lanthanide, and provide an unambiguous tool for monitoring the integrity of the liponanoparticles, via emission in the NIR region.
Gd-III-containing metallostar contrast agents are gaining increased attention, because their architecture allows for a slower tumbling rate, which, in turn, results in larger relaxivities. So far, these metallostars find possible applications as blood pool contrast agents. In this work, the first example of a tissue-selective metallostar contrast agent is described. This RGD-peptide decorated Ru-II(Gd-III)(3) metallostar is synthesized as an alpha(v)beta(3)-integrin specific contrast agent, with possible applications in the detection of atherosclerotic plaques and tumor angiogenesis. The contrast agent showed a relaxivity of 9.65 s(-1) mM(-1), which represents an increase of 170%, compared to a low-molecular-weight analogue, because of a decreased tumbling rate (tau(R) = 470 ps). The presence of the MLCT band (absorption 375-500 nm, emission 525-850 nm) of the central Ru-II(Ph-Phen)(3)-based complex grants the metallostar attractive luminescent properties. The (MLCT)-M-3 emission is characterized by a quantum yield of 4.69% and a lifetime of 804 ns, which makes it an interesting candidate for time-gated luminescence imaging. The potential application as a selective MRI contrast agent for alpha(v)beta(3)-integrin expressing tissues is shown by an in vitro relaxometric analysis, as well as an in vitro T-1-weighted MR image.
Transfer news : The use of a simple method allows the various sensitization steps in Eu(III) -containing complexes to be deciphered. Incorporation of an increasing number of electron-withdrawing fluorine atoms on the rigid and electronically tunable phenyl spacer between two tridentate binding units (see picture, red O, dark blue N) affects the quantum yield, intersystem crossing, and energy transfer processes in a rational way.
This work illustrates a simple approach for optimizing long-lived near-infrared lanthanide-centered luminescence using trivalent chromium chromophores as sensitizers. Reactions of the segmental ligand L2 with stoichiometric amounts of M(CF(3)SO(3))(2) (M = Cr, Zn) and Ln(CF(3)SO(3))(3) (Ln = Nd, Er, Yb) under aerobic conditions quantitatively yield the D(3)-symmetrical trinuclear [MLnM(L2)(3)](CF(3)SO(3))(n) complexes (M = Zn, n = 7 ; M = Cr, n = 9), in which the central lanthanide activator is sandwiched between the two transition metal cations. Visible or NIR irradiation of the peripheral Cr(III) chromophores in [CrLnCr(L2)(3)](9+) induces rate-limiting intramolecular intermetallic Cr→Ln energy transfer processes (Ln = Nd, Er, Yb), which eventually produces lanthanide-centered near-infrared (NIR) or IR emission with apparent lifetimes within the millisecond range. As compared to the parent dinuclear complexes [CrLn(L1)(3)](6+), the connection of a second strong-field [CrN(6)] sensitizer in [CrLnCr(L2)(3)](9+) significantly enhances the emission intensity without perturbing the kinetic regime. This work opens novel exciting photophysical perspectives via the buildup of non-negligible population densities for the long-lived doubly excited state [Cr*LnCr*(L2)(3)](9+) under reasonable pumping powers.
Due to its extreme kinetic inertness, trivalent chromium, Cr(III), has been rarely combined with labile trivalent lanthanides, Ln(III), to give discrete self-assembled (supra)molecular polynuclear complexes. However, the plethora of accessible metal-centered excited states possessing variable lifetimes and emissive properties, combined with the design of efficient intramolecular Cr(III) ↔ Ln(III) energy transfer processes open attractive perspectives for programming directional light-conversion within these heterometallic molecules. Efforts made to address this exciting challenge for both light-sensitization and light-upconversion are discussed in this article.
Herein, we discuss how, why, and when cascade complexation reactions produce stable, mononuclear, luminescent ternary complexes, by considering the binding of hexafluoroacetylacetonate anions (hfac-) and neutral, semi-rigid, tridentate 2,6-bis(benzimidazol-2-yl)pyridine ligands (Lk) to trivalent lanthanide atoms (LnIII).
The solid-state structures of [Ln(Lk)ACHTUNGTRENUNG(hfac)3] (Ln=La, Eu, Lu) showed that [Ln-ACHTUNGTRENUNG(hfac)3] behaved as a neutral six-coordinate lanthanide carrier with remarkable properties : 1) the strong cohesion between the trivalent cation and the didentate hfac anions prevented salt dissociation ; 2) the electron-withdrawing trifluoromethyl substituents limited charge-neutralization and favored cascade complexation with Lk ; 3) nine-coordination was preserved for [Ln(Lk)-
ACHTUNGTRENUNG(hfac)3] for the complete lanthanide series, whilst a counterintuitive trend showed that the complexes formed with the smaller lanthanide elements were destabilized. Thermodynamic and NMR spectroscopic studies in solution confirmed that these characteristics were retained for solvated molecules, but the operation of concerted anion/ligand transfers with the larger cations induced subtle structural variations.
Combined with the strong red photoluminescence of [Eu(Lk)ACHTUNGTRENUNG(hfac)3], the ternary system LnIII/hfac-/Lk is a promising candidate for the planned metalloading of preformed multi-tridentate polymers.
In the objective of developing ligands that simultaneously satisfy the requirements for MRI contrast agents and near-infrared emitting optical probes that are suitable for imaging, three isoquinoline-based polyaminocarboxylate ligands, L1, L2 and L3, have been synthesized and the corresponding Gd(3+), Nd(3+) and Yb(3+) complexes investigated. The specific challenge of the present work was to create NIR emitting agents which (i) have excitation wavelengths compatible with biological applications and (ii) are able to emit a sufficient number of photons to ensure sensitive NIR detection for microscopic imaging. Here we report the first observation of a NIR signal arising from a Ln(3+) complex in aqueous solution in a microscopy setup. The lanthanide complexes have high thermodynamic stability (log K(LnL) =17.7-18.7) and good selectivity for lanthanide ions versus the endogenous cations Zn(2+), Cu(2+), and Ca(2+) thus preventing transmetalation. A variable temperature and pressure (17)O NMR study combined with nuclear magnetic relaxation dispersion measurements yielded the microscopic parameters characterizing water exchange and rotation. Bishydration of the lanthanide cation in the complexes, an important advantage to obtain high relaxivity for the Gd(3+) chelates, has been demonstrated by (17)O chemical shifts for the Gd(3+) complexes and by luminescence lifetime measurements for the Yb(3+) analogues. The water exchange on the three Gd(3+) complexes is considerably faster (k(ex)(298) = (13.9-15.4) × 10(6) s(-1)) than on commercial Gd(3+)-based contrast agents and proceeds via a dissociative mechanism, as evidenced by the large positive activation volumes for GdL1 and GdL2 (+10.3 ± 0.9 and +10.6 ± 0.9 cm(3) mol(-1), respectively). The relaxivity of GdL1 is doubled at 40 MHz and 298 K in fetal bovine serum (r(1) = 16.1 vs 8.5 mM(-1) s(-1) in HEPES buffer), due to hydrophobic interactions between the chelate and serum proteins. The isoquinoline core allows for the optimization of the optical properties of the luminescent lanthanide complexes in comparison to the pyridinic analogues and provides significant shifts of the excitation energies toward lower values which therefore become more adapted for biological applications. L2 and L3 bear two methoxy substituents on the aromatic core in ortho and para positions, respectively, that further modulate their electronic structure. The Nd(3+) and Yb(3+) complexes of the ligand L3, which incorporates the p-dimethoxyisoquinoline moiety, can be excited up to 420 nm. This wavelength is shifted over 100 nm toward lower energy in comparison to the pyridine-based analogue. The luminescence quantum yields of the Nd(3+) (0.013-0.016%) and Yb(3+) chelates (0.028-0.040%) are in the range of the best nonhydrated complexes, despite the presence of two inner sphere water molecules. More importantly, the 980 nm NIR emission band of YbL3 was detected with a good sensitivity in a proof of concept microscopy experiment at a concentration of 10 μM in fetal bovine serum. Our results demonstrate that even bishydrated NIR lanthanide complexes can emit a sufficient number of photons to ensure sensitive detection in practical applications. In particular, these ligands containing an aromatic core with coordinating pyridine nitrogen can be easily modified to tune the optical properties of the NIR luminescent lanthanide complexes while retaining good complex stability and MRI characteristics for the Gd(3+) analogues. They constitute a highly versatile platform for the development of bimodal MR and optical imaging probes based on a simple mixture of Gd(3+) and Yb(3+)/Nd(3+) complexes using an identical chelator. Given the presence of two inner sphere water molecules, important for MRI applications of the corresponding Gd(3+) analogues, this result is particularly exciting and opens wide perspectives not only for NIR imaging based on Ln(3+) ions but also for the design of combined NIR optical and MRI probes.
A series of novel triazole derivative pyridine-based polyamino-polycarboxylate ligands has been synthesized for lanthanide complexation. This versatile platform of chelating agents combines advantageous properties for both magnetic resonance (MR) and optical imaging applications of the corresponding Gd(3+) and near-infrared luminescent lanthanide complexes. The thermodynamic stability constants of the Ln(3+) complexes, as assessed by pH potentiometric measurements, are in the range log K(LnL) =17-19, with a high selectivity for lanthanides over Ca(2+) , Cu(2+) , and Zn(2+) . The complexes are bishydrated, an important advantage to obtain high relaxivities for the Gd(3+) chelates. The water exchange of the Gd(3+) complexes (k(ex) (298) =7.7-9.3×10(6) s(-1) ) is faster than that of clinically used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agents and proceeds through a dissociatively activated mechanism, as evidenced by the positive activation volumes (ΔV(≠) =7.2-8.8 cm(3) mol(-1) ). The new triazole ligands allow a considerable shift towards lower excitation energies of the luminescent lanthanide complexes as compared to the parent pyridinic complex, which is a significant advantage in the perspective of biological applications. In addition, they provide increased epsilon values resulting in a larger number of emitted photons and better detection sensitivity. The most conjugated system PheTPy, bearing a phenyl-triazole pendant on the pyridine ring, is particularly promising as it displays the lowest excitation and triplet-state energies associated with good quantum yields for both Nd(3+) and Yb(3+) complexes. Cellular and in vivo toxicity studies in mice evidenced the non-toxicity and the safe use of such bishydrated complexes in animal experiments. Overall, these pyridinic ligands constitute a highly versatile platform for the simultaneous optimization of both MRI and optical properties of the Gd(3+) and the luminescent lanthanide complexes, respectively.
This work illustrates a simple approach for optimizing the lanthanide luminescence in molecular dinuclear lanthanide complexes and identifies a particular multidentate europium complex as the best candidate for further incorporation into polymeric materials. The central phenyl ring in the bis-tridentate model ligands L3-L5, which are substituted with neutral (X = H, L3), electron-withdrawing (X = F, L4), or electron-donating (X = OCH(3), L5) groups, separates the 2,6-bis(benzimidazol-2-yl)pyridine binding units of linear oligomeric multi-tridentate ligand strands that are designed for the complexation of luminescent trivalent lanthanides, Ln(III). Reactions of L3-L5 with [Ln(hfac)(3)(diglyme)] (hfac(-) is the hexafluoroacetylacetonate anion) produce saturated single-stranded dumbbell-shaped complexes [Ln(2)(Lk)(hfac)(6)] (k = 3-5), in which the lanthanide ions of the two nine-coordinate neutral [N(3)Ln(hfac)(3)] units are separated by 12-14 angstrom. The thermodynamic affinities of [Ln(hfac)(3)] for the tridentate binding sites in L3-L5 are average (6.6 <= log(beta(Y,Lk)(2,1)) <=> L3 >> L5), which suggests that the 1,4-difluorophenyl spacer in L4 is preferable, we have developed a novel tool for deciphering the photophysical sensitization processes operating in [Eu(2)(Lk)(hfac)(6)]. A simple interpretation of the complete set of rate constants characterizing the energy migration mechanisms provides straightforward objective criteria for the selection of [Eu(2)(L4)(hfac)(6)] as the most promising building block.
We have created a dendrimer complex suitable for preferential accumulation within liver tumors and luminescence imaging by substituting thirty-two naphthalimide fluorophores on the surface of the dendrimer and incorporating eight europium cations within the branches. We demonstrate the utility and performance of this luminescent dendrimer complex to detect hepatic tumors generated via direct subcapsular implantation or via splenic injections of colorectal cancer cells (CC531) into WAG/RijHsd rats. Luminescence imaging of the tumors after injection of the dendrimer complex via hepatic arterial infusion revealed that the dendrimer complex can preferentially accumulate within liver tumors. Further investigation indicated that dendrimer luminescence in hepatic tumors persisted in vivo. Due to the incorporation of lanthanide cations, this luminescence agent presents a strong resistance against photobleaching. These studies show the dendrimer complex has great potential to serve as an innovative accumulation and imaging agent for the detection of metastatic tumors in our rat hepatic model.
Surgery is currently the best approach for treating either primary or metastatic hepatic malignancies. Because only 20% of hepatic cancers are operable in patients, several types of regional therapy (RT) are emerging as alternate treatment modalities. However, RTs can have their own limitations at controlling tumor growth or may lack the ability to detect such metastases. Additional strategies can be implemented to enhance their efficacy. An animal model of hepatic metastases coupled with a gastroduodenal artery (GDA) cannulation technique may provide a site to apply such therapies. In our study, splenic injections were performed with CC531 adenocarcinoma cells, which generated metastatic hepatic tumors in WAG/RijHsd rats. Cannulation of GDA was achieved via a polyethylene catheter. Infusion of generation 3 polyamidoamine 4-amino-1,8-naphthalimide dendrimer containing 8 europium ions (Eu-G3P4A18N) via the GDA resulted in luminescence of the hepatic metastatic nodules. Imaging of the metastatic hepatic nodules was obtained with the help of a cooled charge coupled device (CCD) camera.
From the clinical editor :
Hepatic malignancies represent a major therapeutic challenge, despite the available surgical and oncologic treatment modalities. In this paper, an animal model of hepatic adenocarcinoma is used in demonstrating successful targeting of spleen metastases with generation 3 polyamidoamine 4-amino-1,8-naphthalimide dendrimer containing 8 europium ions (Eu-G3P4A18N) for luminescence imaging.
This work explores the sensitization of luminescent lanthanide Tb3+ and Eu3+ cations by the electronic structure of zinc sulfide (ZnS) semiconductor nanoparticles. Excitation spectra collected while monitoring the lanthanide emission bands reveal that the ZnS nanoparticles act as an antenna for the sensitization of Tb3+ and Eu3+. The mechanism of lanthanide ion luminescence sensitization is rationalized in terms of an energy and charge transfer between trap sites and is based on a semiempirical model, proposed by Dorenbos and co-workers (Dorenbos, P. J. Phys. : Condens. Matter2003, 15, 8417−8434 ; J. Lumin.2004, 108, 301−305 ; J. Lumin.2005, 111, 89−104. Dorenbos, P. ; van der Kolk, E. Appl. Phys. Lett.2006, 89, 061122-1−061122-3 ; Opt. Mater.2008, 30, 1052−1057. Dorenbos, P. J. Alloys Compd.2009, 488, 568−573 ; references 1−6.) to describe the energy level scheme. This model implies that the mechanisms of luminescence sensitization of Tb3+ and Eu3+ in ZnS nanoparticles are different ; namely, Tb3+ acts as a hole trap, whereas Eu3+ acts as an electron trap. Further testing of this model is made by extending the studies from ZnS nanoparticles to other II−VI semiconductor materials ; namely, CdSe, CdS, and ZnSe.
Chargé de recherche , Responsable de groupe thématique , Composés luminescents de lanthanides, spectroscopie et bioimagerie optique