Research ArticleAPPLIED SCIENCES AND ENGINEERING

A highly sensitive and selective nanosensor for near-infrared potassium imaging

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Advances  17 Apr 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 16, eaax9757
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax9757

Abstract

Potassium ion (K+) concentration fluctuates in various biological processes. A number of K+ probes have been developed to monitor such fluctuations through optical imaging. However, the currently available K+ probes are far from being sensitive enough in detecting physiological fluctuations in living animals. Furthermore, the monitoring of deep tissues is not applicable because of short-wavelength excitation prevailingly used so far. Here, we report a highly sensitive and selective nanosensor for near-infrared (NIR) K+ imaging in living cells and animals. The nanosensor is constructed by encapsulating upconversion nanoparticles (UCNPs) and a commercial K+ indicator in the hollow cavity of mesoporous silica nanoparticles, followed by coating a K+-selective filter membrane. The membrane adsorbs K+ from the medium and filters out interfering cations. The UCNPs convert NIR to ultraviolet light, which excites the K+ indicator, thus allowing the detection of the fluctuations of K+ concentration in cultured cells and intact mouse brains.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

View Full Text

Stay Connected to Science Advances