Int. J. Med. Sci.

Dual color imaging from a single bf2-azadipyrromethene fluorophore demonstrated in vivo for lymph node identification

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Dual emissions at ~700 and 800 nm have been achieved from a single NIR-AZA fluorophore 1 by establishing parameters in which it can exist in either its isolated molecular or aggregated states. Dual near infrared (NIR) fluorescence color lymph node (LN) mapping with 1 was achieved in a large-animal porcine model, with injection site, channels and nodes all detectable at both 700 and 800 nm using a preclinical open camera system. The fluorophore was also compatible with imaging using two clinical instruments for fluorescence guided surgery. Methods: An NIR-AZA fluorophore with hydrophilic and phobic features was synthesised in a straightforward manner and its aggregation properties characterised spectroscopically and by TEM imaging. Toxicity was assessed in a rodent model and dual color fluorescence imaging evaluated by lymph node mapping in a large animal porcine models and in ex-vivo human tissue specimen. Results: Dual color fluorescence imaging has been achieved in the highly complex biomedical scenario of lymph node mapping. Emissions at 700 and 800 nm can be achieved from a single fluorophore by establishing molecular and aggregate forms. Fluorophore was compatible with clinical systems for fluorescence guided surgery and no toxicity was observed in high dosage testing. Conclusion: A new, biomedical compatible form of NIR-dual emission wavelength imaging has been established using a readily accessible fluorophore with significant scope for clinical translation.