Covalent immobilization of luminescent oxygen indicators reduces cytotoxicity

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Luminescence-based oxygen sensing is a widely used tool in cell culture applications. In a typical configuration, the luminescent oxygen indicators are embedded in a solid, oxygen-permeable matrix in contact with the culture medium. However, in sensitive cell cultures even minimal leaching of the potentially cytotoxic indicators can become an issue. One way to prevent the leaching is to immobilize the indicators covalently into the supporting matrix. In this paper, we report on a method where platinum(II)-5,10,15,20-tetrakis-(2,3,4,5,6-pentafluorphenyl)-porphyrin (PtTFPP) oxygen indicators are covalently immobilized into a polymer matrix consisting of polystyrene and poly(pentafluorostyrene). We study how the covalent immobilization influences the sensing material’s cytotoxicity to human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived (hiPSC-derived) neurons and cardiomyocytes (CMs) through 7–13 days culturing experiments and various viability analyses. Furthermore, we study the effect of the covalent immobilization on the indicator leaching and the oxygen sensing properties of the material. In addition, we demonstrate the use of the covalently linked oxygen sensing material in real time oxygen tension monitoring in functional hypoxia studies of the hiPSC-derived CMs. The results show that the covalently immobilized indicators substantially reduce indicator leaching and the cytotoxicity of the oxygen sensing material, while the influence on the oxygen sensing properties remains small or nonexistent.

Original languageEnglish
Article number41
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Covalently immobilized indicators
  • hiPSC-derived neurons and cardiomyocytes
  • Human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cells
  • Luminescent-based oxygen sensing
  • PtTFPP cytotoxicity

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology


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