Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 386, Issue 3, pp 532-543

First online:

Recent advances in fluorescent probes for the detection of reactive oxygen species

  • Nobuaki SohAffiliated withDepartment of Applied Chemistry, Graduate School of Engineering, Kyushu University Email author 

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Reactive oxygen species (ROS) have captured the interest of many researchers in the chemical, biological, and medical fields since they are thought to be associated with various pathological conditions. Fluorescent probes for the detection of ROS are promising tools with which to enhance our understanding of the physiological roles of ROS, because they provide spatial and temporal information about target biomolecules in in vivo cellular systems. ROS probes, designed to detect specific ROS with a high selectivity, would be desirable, since it is now becoming clear that each ROS has its own unique physiological activity. However, dihydro-compounds such as 2′,7′-dichlorodihydrofluorescein (DCFH), which have traditionally been used for detecting ROS, tend to react with a wide variety of ROS and are not completely photostable. Some attractive fluorescent probes that exhibit a high degree of selectivity toward specific ROS have recently been reported, and these selective probes are expected to have great potential for elucidating unknown physiological mechanisms associated with their target ROS. This review focuses on the design, detection mechanism, and performance of fluorescent probes for the detection of singlet oxygen (1O2), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), hydroxyl radicals (.OH), or superoxide anion (O2 −.), a field in which remarkable progress has been achieved in the last few years.


Fluorescent probe Reactive oxygen species (ROS) Singlet oxygen (1O2) Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) Hydroxyl radical (.OH) Superoxide anion (O2 −.)