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Fluorescent lipophilic tracers

Carbocyanine dyes are widely used as lipophilic tracers to label cells, organelles, liposomes, viruses and lipoproteins. These dyes can be used in a wide variety of application for long-term tracing of cells, including cell transplantation, migration, adhesion and fusion studies.

The most popular lipophilic tracers, DiO (DiOC18(3)), DiI (DiIC18(3)), DiD (DiIC18(5)) and DiR (DiIC18(7)) have extremely high extinction coefficients, environmental dependent fluorescence and short excited-state lifetimes. They are weakly fluorescent in aqueous phase, but highly fluorescent and photostable when incorporated into membranes or bound to lipophilic biomolecules. These optical characteristics make them ideal for staining the cytoplasmic membranes of cells. Once applied to cells, these dyes diffuse laterally within the plasma membrane, resulting in staining of the entire cell.

DiO, DiI, DiD and DiR exhibit distinct green, orange, red and infrared fluorescence, respectively (See Figure 1), thus facilitating multicolor imaging and fluorescence flow cytometric analysis of live cells.

To improve on the slow diffusion rate of lipophilic tracers from the point of their application to the terminus of a neuron, AnaSpec offers lipophilic probes with unsaturated alkyl chains, including SPEEDY DiO, SPEEDY DiA, SPEEDY DiI and Δ 9-DiI, to accelerate the diffusion processes.