Overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is a well-established indicator of ongoing tissue inflammation. However, there is a scarcity of molecular imaging probes capable of providing noninvasive sensitive detection of ROS for allowing longitudinal studies of disease pathology and/or monitoring therapeutic efficacy of ROS scavengers. Herein, we report synthesis and chemical characterization of a novel metalloprobe, Galuminox, a moderately fluorescent agent that detects superoxide and hydrogen peroxide generation. Using live-cell fluorescence imaging analysis, Galuminox demonstrates ability to detect superoxide and monitor effects of ROS-attenuating agents, such as Carvedilol, Dexrazoxane, and mitoTempo in lung epithelial A549 cells. Furthermore, LPS stimulation of A549 cells that either express the mitochondria targeted fluorescent protein Keima or are stained with MitoSOX, a mitochondria-specific superoxide probe, indicates preferential co-localization of Galuminox with mitochondria producing elevated amounts of superoxide. Dynamic PET/CT scans 45 min post tail-vein administration of 68Ga-Galuminox show 4-fold higher uptake and stable retention in lungs of LPS treated mice compared to their saline-only treated counterparts. Post preclinical PET imaging, quantitative biodistribution studies also correlate with 4-fold higher retention of the radiotracer in lungs of LPS treated mice compared with their saline-only treated control counterparts. Consistent with these observations, lung cells isolated from LPS-treated mice demonstrated elevated ROS production deploying CellROX, the ROS probe. Finally, Galuminox uptake correlates with histological and physiological evidence of acute lung injury as evident by polynuclear infiltration, thickening of the alveolar epithelial membranes and increased bronchioalveolar lavage protein content. Taken collectively, these data indicate that 68Ga-Galuminox tracer uptake is a measure of ROS activity in acutely injured lungs and suggests its potential utility in monitoring oxidative stress in other diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101690
JournalRedox Biology
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Acute lung injury
  • Galuminox
  • Oxidative stress
  • PET imaging


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