Creative Biolabs

Lipophilic Tracers

Lipophilic Tracers

Carbocyanine dyes, such as DiI and its derivatives, can label cell membranes without significantly affecting cell viability and can be used for long-term research. Carbocyanine dyes are widely used as lipophilic tracers to label cells, organelles, liposomes, viruses and lipoproteins. These dyes can be used for a variety of applications for long-term cell tracking, including cell transplantation, migration, adhesion and fusion research.



  • Exogenous staining
  • Crystal and paste formulations for tissue staining
  • Will stain fixed tissue sections
  • Forward and retrograde transportation


Lipophilic tracers can be used to track neuronal projections in fixed tissue sections. The dye uniformly marks neurons through the lateral diffusion in the plasma membrane and is supplemented by the active dye transport process in living tissues. Lipophilic tracers can also be used for tissue sections, neurons in vivo, fixed tissue sections and cultured cells. These lipophilic nerve tracers can be used for anterograde and retrograde transport research.

The most popular lipophilic tracers DiO (DiOC18 (3)), DiI (DiIC18 (3)), DiD (DiIC18 (5)) and DiR (DiIC18 (7)) have extremely high extinction coefficients. They have weak fluorescence in the water phase, but when incorporated into membranes or combined with lipophilic biomolecules, they have high fluorescence and light stability. These optical properties make it very suitable for staining the plasma membrane of cells. Once applied to the cell, these dyes diffuse laterally within the plasma membrane, resulting in staining of the entire cell.

DiO, DiI, DiD and DiR respectively show distinct green, orange, red and infrared fluorescence, which facilitates multicolor imaging and fluorescence flow cytometry analysis of living cells.

In order to increase the slow diffusion rate of lipophilic tracers from application to neuron ends, Creative Biolabs provides lipophilic probes with unsaturated alkyl chains to speed up the diffusion process.

Readout Labels cell membranes and does not appreciably affect cell viability. The dyes uniformly label neurons via lateral diffusion in the plasma membrane, supplemented by active dye transport processes in living tissues. Crystal and paste preparations provide convenient loading optons for tissue sections.
Tissue sections Yes
In vivo neurons Yes
Fixed tissue sections Yes
Cultured cells Yes
Cell loading Iontophoresis, microinjection, or crystal/paste placement
Staining mode Exogenous
Best for Cell populations
Transport Bidirectional
Synaptic transfer No
Gap junction transfer No
Cat. No. Product Name Standard filter set(s) Fluorophore Ex/Em (nm) Fixable Format
NTA-2011-ZP120 "DiI" - DiIC18(3), Solid Rhodamine DiI 549/565 No Solid
NTA-2011-ZP121 "DiI" - DiIC18(3), Crystal Crystal
NTA-2011-ZP50 NewTrace™ DiI Tissue-Labeling Paste - DiO, DiI, DiD Paste
NTA-2011-ZP122 DiI Cell-Labeling Solution Solution
NTA-2011-ZP123 NewTrace™ CM-DiI Dye, Solid CM DiI 549/565 Yes Solid
NTA-2011-ZP48 NewTrace™ CM-DiI Tissue Labeling Paste Paste
NTA-2011-ZP124 CM-DiI Cell-Labeling Solution Solution
NTA-2011-ZP125 "DiD" - DiIC18(5), Solid Cy®5 DiD 644/665 No Solid
NTA-2011-ZP126 "DiR" - DiIC18(7), Solid Cy®5.5 DiR 750/780 Solid

In addition to reactive dye formulations, we also provide dyes conjugated with a variety of antibodies, peptides, proteins, tracers and amplification substrates to optimize cell labeling and detection. Please contact us for more details.

For Research Use Only. Not For Clinical Use.
Neural Tracers
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