Reversible low-light induced photoswitching of crowned spiropyran-DO3A complexed with gadolinium(III) ions

Klaus Kruttwig, Diego R. Yankelevich, Chantal Brueggemann, Chuqiao Tu, Noelle L'Etoile, André Knoesen, Angelique Y. Louie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Photoswitchable spiropyran has been conjugated to the crowned ring system DO3A, which improves its solubility in dipolar and polar media and stabilizes the merocyanine isomer. Adding the lanthanide ion gadolinium(III) to the macrocyclic ring system leads to a photoresponsive magnetic resonance imaging contrast agent that displays an increased spin-lattice relaxation time (T 1) upon visible light stimulation. In this work, the photoresponse of this photochromic molecule to weak light illumination using blue and green light emitting diodes was investigated, simulating the emission spectra from bioluminescent enzymes. Photon emission rate of the light emitting diodes was changed, from 1.75 × 10 16 photons·s -1 to 2.37 × 10 12 photons·s -1. We observed a consistent visible light-induced isomerization of the merocyanine to the spiropyran form with photon fluxes as low as 2.37 × 1012 photons·s-1 resulting in a relaxivity change of the compound. This demonstrates the potential for use of the described imaging probes in low light level applications such as sensing bioluminescence enzyme activity. The isomerization behavior of gadolinium(III)-ion complexed and non-complexed spiropyran-DO3A was analyzed in water and ethanol solution in response to low light illumination and compared to the emitted photon emission rate from over-expressed Gaussia princeps luciferase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6605-6624
Number of pages20
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • DO3A
  • Light emitting diodes
  • Low light applications
  • Luciferase
  • MRI contrast agent
  • Photochromic molecule
  • Rate constant
  • Spiropyran

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Medicine(all)


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