2015 Volume 31 Issue 4 Pages 275-285
Fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) has been recognized as a powerful microscopy technique to examine environments in living systems. The fluorescence lifetime does not depend on the photobleaching and optical conditions, which allows us to obtain quantitative information on intracellular environments by analyzing the fluorescence lifetime. A variety of exogenous fluorophores have been applied in FLIM measurements to examine cellular processes. Information on the correlation between the fluorescence lifetime and the physiological parameters is essential to elucidate the cellular environments from the fluorescence lifetime measurements of exogenous fluorophores. In this review, exogenous fluorophores used for lifetime-based sensing are summarized, with the expectation that it becomes a basis for selecting the fluorophore used to investigate the intracellular environment with FLIM. Experimental results of the intracellular sensing of pH, metal ions, oxygen, viscosity, and other physiological parameters on the basis of the FLIM measurements are described along with a brief explanation of the mechanism of the change in the fluorescence lifetime.