In vivo imaging of β-galactosidase stimulated activity in hepatocellular carcinoma using ligand-targeted fluorescent probe

Eun Joong Kim, Rajesh Kumar, Amit Sharma, Byungkwon Yoon, Hyun Min Kim, Hyunseung Lee, Kwan Soo Hong, Jong Seung Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Citations (Scopus)


Development of targeted, selective, and noninvasive fluorescent probes for in vivo visualization of tumor-associated overexpressed enzymes are highly anticipated for cancer diagnosis and therapy. Herein, we developed a noninvasive fluorescent probe (DCDHF-βgal) for the sensitive detection, and in vivo visualization of β-galactosidase in hepatocyte HepG2 cells and its xenograft model. As a model system for in vivo targeted imaging, DCDHF-βgal possessing galactose unit selectively target hepatocyte and monitor the β-galactosidase activity with deep tissue penetration, and low background interference. DCDHF-βgal was activated by intracellular β-galactosidases as the driving force for the release of NIR fluorophore, thereby exhibiting ratiometric optical response. Initial fluorescence emission measured at 615 nm was changed to fluorescence at 665 nm upon activation of DCDHF-βgal with β-galactosidase. Ratiometric fluorescence detection of β-galactosidase was also observed in hepatocellular carcinoma cells and tumor xenograft. The noninvasive in vivo optical imaging facilitated by targeted and enzyme-activated imaging agent would be useful in various biomedical and diagnostic applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-90
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Apr 1



  • Fluorescent probe
  • Hepatocellular
  • In vivo imaging
  • Ratiometric
  • β-galactosidase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials
  • Mechanics of Materials

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