In recent years, a series of curcumin analogs have been designed as fluorescent probes for detecting and imaging A β peptide aggregates and reactive oxygen species (ROS) in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) brains. In order to gain a better understanding of the photophysical properties of these probe molecules, a systematical computational investigation was performed using the time-dependent density functional theory (TDDFT) calculations. Computed absorption and emission wavelengths well reproduced the spectral shifts among the curcumin analogs. In particular, for a recently proposed pair of probe molecules, CRANAD-5 and CRANAD-61, for sensing ROS in preclinical studies of AD brains, their emission wavelength difference was found to arise from a delocalization of the lowest unoccupied molecular orbital of CRANAD-61 from the curcuminoid backbone to the oxalate moiety. Overall, this study reaffirms the value of employing TDDFT calculations to assist the design of new curcumin-based fluorescence probes for AD research.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry