Exposure to mercury causes severe damage to various tissues and organs in humans. Concern over mercury toxicity has encouraged the development of efficient, sensitive, and selective methods for the in vivo detection of mercury. Although a variety of chemosensors have been exploited for this purpose, no in vivo monitoring systems have been described to date. In this report, we describe an irreversible rhodamine chemosensor-based, real-time monitoring system to detect mercury ions in living cells and, in particular, vertebrate organisms. The chemosensor responds rapidly, irreversibly, and stoichiometrically to mercury ions in aqueous media at room temperature. The results of experiments with mammalian cells and zebrafish show that the mercury chemosensor is cell and organism permeable and that it responds selectively to mercury ions over other metal ions. In addition, real-time monitoring of mercury-ion uptake by cells and zebrafish using this chemosensor shows that saturation of mercury-ion uptake occurs within 20-30 min in cells and organisms. Finally, accumulation of mercury ions in zebrafish tissue and organs is readily detected by using this rhodamine-based chemosensor.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry