Theranostics 2018; 8(5):1411-1420. doi:10.7150/thno.22252

Research Paper

Naphthalene-based fluorescent probes for glutathione and their applications in living cells and patients with sepsis

Jun Li1,†, Younghee Kwon2,†, Kyung Soo Chung3,†, Chang Su Lim5,†, Dayoung Lee1, Yongkang Yue4, Jisoo Yoon1, Gyoungmi Kim1, Sang-Jip Nam1, Youn Wook Chung2, Hwan Myung Kim5,✉, Caixia Yin4,✉, Ji-Hwan Ryu2,✉, Juyoung Yoon1,✉

1. Department of Chemistry and Nano Science, Ewha Womans University, Seoul 120-750, Korea
2. Severance Biomedical Science Institute, Brain Korea 21 PLUS Project for Medical Science, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul 120-752, Korea.
3. Division of Pulmonology, Department of Internal Medicine, Institute of Chest Disease, Severance Hospital, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul 120-752, Korea.
4. Key Laboratory of Chemical Biology and Molecular Engineering of Ministry of Education, Key Laboratory of Materials for Energy Conversion and Storage of Shanxi Province, Institute of Molecular Science, Shanxi University, Taiyuan 030-006, China.
5. Department of Chemistry and Energy Systems Research, Ajou University, 443-749, Suwon, Korea.
† These authors contributed equally to this work


Rationale: Among the biothiols-related diseases, sepsis is defined as life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by a dysregulated host response to infection and can result in severe oxidative stress and damage to multiple organs. In this study, we aimed to develop a fluorescence chemosensor that can both detect GSH and further predict sepsis.

Methods: In this study, two new naphthalene dialdehyde compounds containing different functional groups were synthesized, and the sensing abilities of these compounds towards biothiols and its applications for prediction of sepsis were investigated.

Results: Our study revealed that the newly developed probe 6-methoxynaphthalene-2, 3-dicarbaldehyde (MNDA) has two-photon is capable of detecting GSH in live cells with two-photon microscopy (TPM) under the excitation at a wavelength of 900 nm. Furthermore, two GSH detection probes naphthalene-2,3-dicarboxaldehyde (NDA) and 6-fluoronaphthalene-2,3-dicarbaldehyde (FNDA) not only can detect GSH in living cells, but also showed clinical significance for the diagnosis and prediction of mortality in patients with sepsis.

Conclusions: These results open up a promising direction for further medical diagnostic techniques.

Keywords: fluorescence probe, GSH, Sepsis, cell imaging, diagnosis

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) license ( See for full terms and conditions.
How to cite this article:
Li J, Kwon Y, Chung KS, Lim CS, Lee D, Yue Y, Yoon J, Kim G, Nam SJ, Chung YW, Kim HM, Yin C, Ryu JH, Yoon J. Naphthalene-based fluorescent probes for glutathione and their applications in living cells and patients with sepsis. Theranostics 2018; 8(5):1411-1420. doi:10.7150/thno.22252. Available from