Cathepsin B (CB)-specific molecular imaging probe is applied to monitor the changes of CB expression in 3D cultured chondrocytes during the chondrogenesis. The probe is synthesized with a CB-cleavable peptide linked to a near infrared fluorescence (NIRF) dye and a dark quencher, which can recover the NIRF signal in the presence of CB enzyme. The CB activities in two different sets of chondrocytes are comparatively analyzed. The chondrocytes with higher CB activity show more extensive area of chondrogenesis that CB molecular imaging directly reflects the chondrogenic potency of the cells. The CB probe is expected to provide a reliable prediction for the quality of engineered cartilage by visualizing the activity of the relevant enzyme in chondrocytes.
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© 2015 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.
- cartilage tissue engineering
- cathepsin B
- molecular imaging