What's wrong with the mouse brain? An optophysiological probe will tell you


A research team led by Prof. Tian Yang with the School of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering has made significant headway in the field of in vivo mouse brain analysis and detection. The researchers carried out a study on relevant substances in the brains of rats with cerebral ischemia through the combination of Surface-enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS) microarray and electrophysiological technology. The work unveiled changes of cortical related substances in mouse brains known as the ischemic situation.

Professor Tian Yang with the School of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering.

An article about the studyA SERS Optophysiological Probe for the Real‐Time Mapping and Simultaneous Determination of the Carbonate Concentration and pHValue in a Live Mouse Brain” was published in the Angewandte Chemie Internatinal Edition journal in February. ECNU and Beijing University jointly carried out the research.

Wang Weikang, a doctoral student at the School of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering, was the first author of the article, and Prof. Tian Yang was the correspondent author.

It is of great significance to analyze the physiological and pathological processes of the human brain, which is the most complicated organ of the body and the most advanced part of the nervous system. The realization of brain function depends on the transmission of electrical and chemical signals from neurons.

Electrophysiological techniques are often used in brain research as a mature research method to analyze the encoding mechanism of neurons and the information transmitted by the brain. The electrochemical methods have attracted much attention in the field of in vivo research due to their high spatial and temporal resolution, in-situ and real-time characteristics.

  The physiological and pathological processes of the human brain.

These techniques, however, can only pick up on the electrical signals by which neurons communicate; the signals are generated by the change of chemical signals of neurotransmitters and ions. Therefore, only by simultaneously monitoring these chemical and electrical signals can the physiological and pathological processes in the brain be thoroughly understood.

The study of analysis methods of brain vivisection. and in-vivo analysis have been key targets for Prof. Tian's team, especially in selectivity, accuracy, sensitivity, simultaneous analysis of multiple substances, simultaneous analysis of chemical signals and electrical signals. Moreover, the researchers have developed a series of new methods for activity analysis while achieveing major breakthroughs of more effective methods for conducting brain research.

Prof. Tian's research team.

A series of paper published under this topic :

1. Chai, Xiaolan.; Zhou, Xinguang.; Zhu, Anwei.; Zhang, Limin.; Qin, Yao.; Shi, Guoyue.; Tian, Yang.*

A two-channel ratiometric electrochemical biosensor for in vivo monitoring of copper ions in a rat brain using gold truncated octahedral microcages.

Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.2013,52, 8129-8133.


2. Luo, Yongping.; Zhang, Limin.; Liu, Wei.; Yu, Yanyan.; Tian, Yang.*

A single biosensor for evaluating the levels of copper ion and L-cysteine in a live rat brain with Alzheimer’s disease.

Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.2015,54, 14053-14056.


3. Zhang, Limin.; Han, Yingying.; Zhao, Fan.; Shi, Guoyue.;* Tian, Yang.*

A Selective and Accurate Ratiometric Electrochemical Biosensor for Monitoring of Cu2+ Ions in a Rat Brain.

Anal. Chem. 2015,87, 2931-2936.


4. Liu, Wei.; Dong, Hui.; Zhang, Limin.;* Tian, Yang*.

Developing an efficient biosensor for the in vivo quantification of Cu+ ion concentration and pH in the Brain: Rational Design and Synthesis of Recognition Molecules.

Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2017,56, 16328-16332.


5. Liu, Li.; Zhao, Fan.; Liu, Wei.; Zhu, Tong.; Zhang, John. Z. H.; Chen, Chen.; Dai, Zhihui.;* Peng, Huisheng.; Huang, Jun-long.; Hu, Qin.; Bu, Wenbo.; Tian, Yang.*

An electrochemical biosensor with dual signal outputs: toward simultaneous quantification of pH and O2 in the brain upon ischemia and in a tumor during cancer starvation therapy.

Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2017,56, 10471-10475.


6. Feng, Enduo.; Zheng, Tingting.;* He, Xiaoxiao.; Chen, Jinquan.; Tian, Yang*

A novel ternary heterostructure with dramatic SERS activity for evaluation of PD-L1 expression at the single-cell level.

Sci. Adv. 2018, 4(11).


7. Wang, Weikang.; Zhao, Fan.; Li, Minzhi.; Zhang, Chuanping.; Shao, Yuanhua.; Tian, Yang.*

A SERS Optophysiology Probe for Real‐time Mapping and Simultaneous Quantification of Carbonate and pH in a Live Mouse Brain

Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. DOI:10.1002/anie.201814286


Edited by Linlan Zhang    Proofread by Joshua Mayfield    Reviewed by Wenjun Guo


East China Normal University