Measuring cells’ oxygen levels with PEBBLEs

Scientists in Germany have developed a strategy to visualise oxygen concentrations in cells to better understand its role in biological reactions such as metabolism.

Hans Gorris from the University of Regensburg and colleagues have embedded two luminescent dyes within polystyrene particles, which were taken up by cells. One is a red light-emitting indicator dye that alters its luminescence depending on the oxygen concentration; the second is a green light-emitting dye that acts as a reference and is not sensitive to oxygen. The colours enabled the dyes to be monitored on the green and red channels in a red-green-blue (RGB) digital camera, together with a fluorescence microscope.

Schematic drawing of a ratiometric oxygen-sensitive polystyrene PEBBLE

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Link to journal article
Self-referenced RGB colour imaging of intracellular oxygen
Xu-dong Wang, Hans H. Gorris, Judith A. Stolwijk, Robert J. Meier, Dominik B. M. Groegel, Joachim Wegener and Otto S. Wolfbeis
Chem. Sci., 2011, DOI: 10.1039/c0sc00610f


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