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Viscosity probes are an important means of highly sensitive imaging analysis of cell viscosity. In recent years, with the development of fluorescence detection and imaging technology, chemical probes have become an ideal tool to detect the intracellular microenvironment. The abnormal viscosity in cells is closely related to many diseases and dysfunction. Therefore, it is of great significance to monitor the change of viscosity at the cell level.
Characteristics of Viscosity Probes
The most commonly used viscosity probes consist of fluorophores and rotatable structures containing electron donors and acceptors. In a non-viscous environment, the internal rotation of molecules can lead to fluorescence quenching or shortened fluorescence lifetime. In the viscous environment, the internal rotation of molecular rotors is inhibited, which reduces the loss of non-radiative energy, enhances fluorescence and increases fluorescence lifetime. Structurally, most viscosity probes have an electron donor, an electron acceptor, and a bond that allows charge transfer. TICT process is inhibited and fluorescence is enhanced when viscosity increases in the environment. It is shown that the transition of the probes from bright state to dark state depends on the change of the probe conformation in viscosity.
Application of Viscosity Probes
Intracellular viscosity is an important parameter in the cell microenvironment. It can reflect the diffusion rate of substances between cells, so as to reflect the expression of biological behavior and the production of diseases. Viscosity fluorescence probes have the advantages of high sensitivity, low cost and high spatio-temporal resolution to detect changes in intracellular viscosity. Viscosity fluorescence probes show promising applications at the cellular and biological levels for fluorescence imaging of intracellular microenvironmental viscosity.