Whilte herbal medicines are widely used for health promotion and therapy for chronic conditions, inappropriate use of them may cause adverse effects like liver injury, and accurately evaluating their hepatotoxicity is of great significance for public health. Herein, an activatable probe QY-N for diagnosing herbal-medicine-induced liver injury by detecting hepatic NO with NIR-II fluorescence and multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) imaging is demonstrated. The probe includes a bismethoxyphenyl-amine-containing dihydroxanthene serving as electron donor, a quinolinium as electron acceptor, and a butylamine as recognition group and fluorescence quencher. The hepatic level of NO reacts with butylamine, thereby generating the activated probe QY-NO which exhibits a red-shifted absorption band (700-850 nm) for optoacoustic imaging and generates strong emission (910-1110 nm) for NIR-II fluorescence imaging. QY-NO is aggregation-induced-emission (AIE) active, which ensures strong emission in aggregated state. QY-N is utilized in the triptolide-induced liver injury mouse model, and experimental results demonstrate the QY-N can be activated by hepatic NO and thus be used in detecting herbal-medicine-induced liver injury. The temporal and spatial information provided by three-dimensional MSOT images well delineates the site and size of liver injury. Moreover, QY-N has also been employed to monitor rehabilitation of liver injury during treatment process.

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