BF2-azadipyrromethene NIR-emissive fluorophores with research and clinical potential

Harrison C. Daly, Gonzalo Sampedro, Corentin Bon, Dan Wu, Ghazi Cahill, Roman A. Cahill, Donal F. O’Shea

The use of near-infrared fluorescence for in vivo research and intraoperative clinical imaging is rapidly expanding, with new applications being proposed and developed. While imaging hardware and software have significantly progressed in recent times, the molecular fluorescent agents remain a limiting factor. In this report, the design, synthesis, photophysical characterization and bio-medical imaging assessment of two new NIR-fluorophores based on the BF2-azadipyrromethene fluorophore class are described. Inclusion of dimethylamino substituents on these BF2-azadipyrromethene probes results in very large bathochromic shifts with photophysical measurements showing absorption and emission maxima between 757 and 818 nm within the desired NIR spectra region. Testing of the probes shows that they are suitable for fluorescence imaging with both research and clinical instrumentation. Preclinical imaging assessment shows their suitability as fluorescent markers (tattoos) of lesions for intraoperative identification and lymphatic mapping in ex vivo human colonic tissue. These new clinical wavelength-compatible fluorophores may contribute towards the on-going expansion of medical uses for NIR-fluorescence.

The LC/MS analysis was carried out using Advion Expression® CMS.