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Complexes of Cu(ii), Ni(ii) and Zn(ii) have been prepared with bis(thiosemicarbazonate) ligands bearing a pendant Bodipy fluorophore both with (ATSMBodipy) and without (GTSBodipy) backbone methyl groups. Biophysical analysis using steady state confocal laser scanning fluorescence images and excited state fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) data obtained from live cells under aerobic uptake conditions has uniquely allowed both the spatial distribution and degree of dissociation of the complexes to be assessed. The CuATSMBodipy complex is virtually intact after 20 min and 1 h whereas the corresponding CuGTSBodipy complex is totally dissociated. The complexes ZnATSMBodipy and NiATSMBodipy show little evidence for dissociation. The relevance of this data to the biomedical applications of bis(thiosemicarbazonate) complexes for imaging applications and implications for the treatment of disease such as Alzheimer's and the PET imaging of hypoxia are discussed.
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