Ferroptosis is an iron-dependent, non-apoptotic form of programmed cell death driven by excessive lipid peroxidation (LPO). Mounting evidence suggests that the unique modality of cell death is involved in the development and progression of several diseases including cancer, cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), neurodegenerative disorders, etc. However, the pathogenesis and signalling pathways of ferroptosis are not fully understood, possibly due to the lack of robust tools for the highly selective and sensitive imaging of ferroptosis analytes in complex living systems. Up to now, various small-molecule fluorescent probes have been applied as promising chemosensors for studying ferroptosis through tracking the biomolecules or microenvironment-related parameters in vitro and in vivo. In this review, we comprehensively reviewed the recent development of small-molecule fluorescent probes for studying ferroptosis, with a focus on the analytes, design strategies and bioimaging applications. We also provided new insights to overcome the major challenges in this emerging field.
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