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Anal Chim Acta. 2008 Sep 26;626(2):111-8. doi: 10.1016/j.aca.2008.08.002. Epub 2008 Aug 15.

Comparison of N-alkyl acridine orange dyes as fluorescence probes for the determination of cardiolipin.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056, USA.


The phospholipid (PL), cardiolipin (CL), is found almost exclusively in the inner membrane of mitochondria and loss of CL is considered as an important indication of cell apoptosis. Previously, 10-N-nonyl acridine orange (NAO) has been used as a fluorescent probe for the visualization of CL in mitochondrial cell membranes and in solution. In this work for the determination of CL, we have synthesized two new fluorescent probes, n-tetradecyl acridine orange (C14-AO), and n-octadecyl acridine orange (C18-AO) by reacting acridine orange with the corresponding n-alkyl bromide. Using excitation and emission wavelengths at about 500 and 525 nm and varying the percentage of methanol in water as the solvent, no interaction between CL and the fluorescent probes at 75% is noted but a proportional quenching of the fluorescence signal by CL is observed at 50% or less for C14-AO and 60% or less for C18-AO. Binding efficiency of these fluorescent probes to CL is compared using dye concentrations of 5, 10, and 20 muM. C18-AO shows a better sensitivity than C14-AO and NAO, respectively, but is less selective. For C14-AO, the detection limit and limit of quantitation are 0.07 and 0.21 muM, respectively, which are better than those previously reported for NAO. One anionic PL, phosphatidic acid, shows some quenching interference to both the C14 and C18 dyes but only at concentrations above the working range for sample analysis. The CL in mitochondrial membrane samples is determined by standard addition using C14-AO. The level of CL in the outer mitochondrial membrane compared to the inner membrane is significantly increased due to the addition of cadmium chloride into the cells causing cell apoptosis.

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