Table of Contents
International Journal of Molecular Imaging
Volume 2011, Article ID 413290, 13 pages
Research Article

In Vitro and Ex Vivo Evaluation of Smart Infra-Red Fluorescent Caspase-3 Probes for Molecular Imaging of Cardiovascular Apoptosis

1Inserm U644 and Rouen University Hospital, Institute for Biomedical Research and IRFMP23, University of Rouen, 76183 Rouen, France
2QUIDD, 50 rue Ettore Bugatti, Technopôle du Madrillet, 76800 Saint-Etienne du Rouvray, France
3Equipe de Chimie Bio-Organique, COBRA-CNRS UMR 6014 & FR 3038, rue Lucien Tesnière, 76131 Mont-Saint-Aignan, France
4Department of Chemistry, University of Rouen, Place Emile Blondel, 76821 Mont-Saint-Aiginan, France
5Department of Chemistry, Institut Universitaire de France, 103 Boulevard St. Michel, 75005 Paris, France

Received 20 December 2010; Accepted 9 March 2011

Academic Editor: D. Jain

Copyright © 2011 Manuelle Debunne et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Purpose. The aim of this paper is to develop new optical bioprobes for the imaging of apoptosis. Procedure. We developed quenched near-infrared probes which become fluorescent upon cleavage by caspase-3, the key regulatory enzyme of apoptosis. Results. Probes were shown to be selectively cleaved by recombinant caspase-3. Apoptosis of cultured endothelial cells was associated with an increased fluorescent signal for the cleaved probes, which colocalized with caspase-3 and was reduced by the addition of a caspase-3 inhibitor. Flow cytometry demonstrated a similar profile between the cleaved probes and annexin V. Ex vivo experiments showed that sections of hearts obtained from mice treated with the proapoptotic drug doxorubicin displayed an increase in the fluorescent signal for the cleaved probes, which was reduced by a caspase-3 inhibitor. Conclusion. We demonstrated the capacity of these novel probes to detect apoptosis by optical imaging in vitro and ex vivo.