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Magnesium (Mg) is essential for biological processes, but its cellular homeostasis has not been thoroughly elucidated, mainly because of the inadequacy of the available techniques to map intracellular Mg distribution. Recently, particular interest has been raised by a new family of fluorescent probes, diaza-18-crown-hydroxyquinoline (DCHQ), that shows remarkably high affinity and specificity for Mg, thus permitting the detection of the total intracellular Mg. The data obtained by fluori- metric and cytofluorimetric assays performed with DCHQ5 are in good agreement with atomic absorption spectroscopy, confirming that DCHQ5 probe allows both qualitative and quantitative determination of total intracellular Mg.
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