New light in flavin autofluorescence

  • A.C. Croce | University of Pavia, Italy.
  • G. Bottiroli University of Pavia, Italy.


Our attention was captured by the interesting debate on the identification of lipofuscins, lipofuscin-like lipopigments, or flavins as the responsible for intracellular autofluorescence (AF) detected in epithelial cancer stem cells when exciting at 480-490 nm. Evidence was provided leading to ascribe AF emission to flavins accumulating in cytoplasmic structures, bounded to membranes and bearing ATP-dependent ABCG2 transporters. Flavins were then proposed as an intrinsic AF biomarker of cancer stem cells, with advantageous implications on cell invasiveness and chemoresistance investigations. It is however worth recalling the huge amount of literature on flavins and NAD(P)H as AF biomarkers of cell energetic metabolism and redox state, an aspect that should not be overlooked in the renewed course to extend the potential of flavins as AF biomarkers, entailing also a recent proposal of Flavin-based fluorescent proteins as substitutes of Green fluorescent proteins.


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Author Biographies

A.C. Croce, University of Pavia

Histochemistry and Cytometry Unit, IGM-CNR, Biotechnology and Biology Department  

G. Bottiroli, University of Pavia
Histochemistry and Cytometry Unit, IGM-CNR, Biotechnology and Biology Department
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Fondazione Cariplo
Endogenous-fluorophores, NAD(P)H, energetic metabolism, redox state.
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How to Cite
Croce, A., & Bottiroli, G. (2015). New light in flavin autofluorescence. European Journal of Histochemistry, 59(4).