Microchimica Acta

, 174:1

Luminescent probes for detection and imaging of hydrogen peroxide

  • Michael Schäferling
  • Dominik B. M. Grögel
  • Stephan Schreml
Review Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00604-011-0606-3

Cite this article as:
Schäferling, M., Grögel, D.B.M. & Schreml, S. Microchim Acta (2011) 174: 1. doi:10.1007/s00604-011-0606-3


The relevance of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in biological processes has been underestimated for a long time. In recent years, various reports showed that H2O2 not only acts as a cytotoxic compound appearing in the course of oxidative stress, but also functions as an important signaling molecule. Fluorescent probes (or indicators) and nanoparticles that respond selectively to hydrogen peroxide can be applied for intracellular measurements or in vivo imaging, and are superior to electrochemical methods, e.g. in terms of spatial resolution. In contrast to previous reviews that concentrated on the adoption of different probes for certain applications, this survey highlights the basic principles of different probes in terms of their chemical design, structures and functionalities. Thus, the probes are classified according to the underlying reaction mechanism: oxidation, hydrolysis, photoinduced electron transfer, and lanthanide complexation. Other assays are based on fluorescent proteins and nanoparticles, and chemi- or bioluminescent reagents. We confine this review to probes that display a more or less distinct selectivity to hydrogen peroxide. Indicators responding to reactive oxygen species (ROS) in general, or to particular other ROS, are not covered. Finally, we briefly discuss future trends and perspectives of these luminescent reporters in biomedical research and imaging.


Luminescent probes and nanosensors are promising tools to study the role of H2O2 in cellular signal transduction processes, oxidative stress and wound healing. Advanced cell-penetrating probes paved the way to image intracellular concentrations of H2O2. This review highlights the development in the design of H2O2-sensitive probes over the past decade.


Hydrogen peroxideReactive oxygen speciesFluorescent probesFluorescence imagingCell signaling

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Schäferling
    • 1
  • Dominik B. M. Grögel
    • 1
  • Stephan Schreml
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Analytical Chemistry, Chemo- and BiosensorsUniversity of RegensburgRegensburgGermany
  2. 2.Department of DermatologyUniversity Hospital RegensburgRegensburgGermany