A Near-IR Fluorescent Chemical Sensor for Serotonin

A Near-IR Fluorescent Chemical Sensor for Serotonin

Inventors at the University of Missouri have developed a chemical sensor that fluoresces in the presence of serotonin. This effect makes it useful for imaging serotonin in neurons (intracellular analyte detection).

Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) is a biologic amine and a crucial neurotransmitter in the central nervous system involved in regulating emotions, mood, and sense of well-being. Decreased serotonin levels have been associated with a range of neuro-psychiatric disorders like anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, and clinical depression, making Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) the first line agents to elevate serotonin levels in the body, and also the most prescribed class of psychotropic medications. Conventional molecular imaging tools are oftentimes faced with certain drawbacks like limited selectivity and sensitivity, allowing for only indirect observation of serotonin, or requiring the use of invasive biomedical devices. The current invention enables direct serotonin imaging and quantitation using a small molecule with NIR fluorescence. Its high affinity for serotonin makes it a preferred sensor.


  • Intracellular detection of Serotonin in neurons


  • High selectivity for Serotonin

Additional Details

Owner: University of Missouri - Columbia

IP Protection Status: Pending Patent