Lithium has been a drug for bipolar disorders (BD) for over 70 years; however, its usage has been limited by its narrow therapeutic window (between 0.6 and 1.2 mM). Understanding the cellular distribution of lithium ions (Li+) in patient cells will offer deep insight into this limitation, but selective imaging of Li+ in living cells under biomedically relevant concentration ranges has not been achieved. Herein, we report in vitro selection and development of a Li+-specific DNAzyme fluorescent sensor with >100-fold selectivity over other biorelevant metal ions. This sensor allows comparative Li+ visualization in HeLa cells, human neuronal progenitor cells (NPCs), and neurons derived from BD patients and healthy controls. Strikingly, we detected enhanced accumulation of Li+ in cells derived from BD patients compared with healthy controls in differentiated neurons but not NPCs. These results establish the DNAzyme-based sensor as a novel platform for biomedical research into BD and related areas using lithium drugs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Chemical Engineering(all)