Application of spin traps to biological systems

Gerald M. Rosen, Myron S. Cohen, Bradley E. Britigan, Sovitj Pou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Since 1971. when nitroxides were first reported to be bioreduced, several cellular enzymes, in addition to ascorbic acid. have been found to catalyze the reduction of nitroxides to their corresponding hydroxylami-nes. Numerous studies have demonstrated that cellular bioreduction of nitroxides are both dependent upon the structure of the nitroxide and cell type. For example, pyrrolidinyloxyls are considerably more resistant to bioreduction than their corresponding piperidinyloxyls. In addition, cellular levels of reductases present in freshly isolated rat hepatocytes are considerably greater than concentrations found in freshly isolated rat enterocytes. Thus, through the proper selection of a cell type and an appropriate nitroxide. one can study cellular-mediated free radical processes. With the discovery that αhydrogen-containing nitroxides, including 2, Z-dimethyl-S-hydroxy-l-pyrrolidinyloxyl (DMPO-OH) decompose rapidly in the presence of superoxide and thiols, the ability to determine if hydroxyl radical is generated during stimulation of human neutrophils, is in doubt. To explore the limits of spin trapping in this context. we have studied the effect of varying the rates of superoxide production. in the presence and absence of thiols, on the decomposition of DMPO-OH. In parallel studies, we have found that t-butyl αmethyl-4-pyridinyl-N-oxide nitroxide (4-POBN-CH3) will not degrade in the presence of superoxide and a thiol. From these studies. we have determined that if hydroxyl radicals were generated as an isolated event in the presence of a continual flow of superoxide. spin trapping might not be able to detect its formation. Otherwise. spin trapping should be able to measure hydroxyl radicals. if continually generated, during activation of human neutrophils.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-195
Number of pages9
JournalFree Radical Research
Issue number3-6
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Ascorbate
  • DMPO
  • Nitroxides
  • Spin trapping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Application of spin traps to biological systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this