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Molecular imaging of oxidative stress using an LED-based photoacoustic imaging system.


LED-based photoacoustic imaging has practical value in that it is affordable and rugged; however, this technology has largely been confined to anatomic imaging with limited applications into functional or molecular imaging. Here, we report molecular imaging reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (RONS) with a near-infrared (NIR) absorbing small molecule (CyBA) and LED-based photoacoustic imaging equipment. CyBA produces increasing photoacoustic signal in response to peroxynitrite (ONOO-) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) with photoacoustic signal increases of 3.54 and 4.23-fold at 50 µM of RONS at 700 nm, respectively. CyBA is insensitive to OCl-, ˙NO, NO2-, NO3-, tBuOOH, O2-, C4H9O˙, HNO, and ˙OH, but can detect ONOO- in whole blood and plasma. CyBA was then used to detect endogenous RONS in macrophage RAW 246.7 cells as well as a rodent model; these results were confirmed with fluorescence microscopy. Importantly, CyB suffers photobleaching under a Nd:YAG laser but the signal decrease is <2% with the low-power LED-based photoacoustic system and the same radiant exposure time. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report to describe molecular imaging with an LED-based photoacoustic scanner. This study not only reveals the sensitive photoacoustic detection of RONS but also highlights the utility of LED-based photoacoustic imaging.

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