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First system for monitoring lead poisoning in living cells
Journal of the American Chemical Society
Despite lead poisoning's status as the world's most common environmentally caused disease, no practical medical test exists to monitor the amount of lead present in living cells over time. Existing laboratory tests can only measure total lead content in cells, rather than provide critical information on the amount of biologically available lead, which is what causes lead poisoning.
Christopher J. Chang and colleagues now report development of the first fluorescent sensor molecule that can monitor changes in lead levels in living cells. Their study is scheduled for the July 26 issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society. The sensor, which the researchers term Leadfluor-1 (LF1), turns on in the presence of lead with intensities that reflect the amount of lead present in living cells.
Those levels of lead might rise with exposure to lead in the environment, for instance, or decline with successful treatment of lead poisoning. Doctors and patients would benefit from the ability to monitor such changes.
Researchers explain that the new turn-on fluorescent lead sensor has several advantages over previous sensors. It tracks the specific chemical form of lead responsible for lead poisoning. In addition, it fluor
Contact: Michael Woods
American Chemical Society