Insight into the nature and site of oxygen-centered free radical generation by endothelial cell monolayers using a novel spin trapping technique

Bradley E. Britigan, Tedmund L. Roeder, D. Michael Shasby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Spin trapping, a sensitive and specific means of detecting free radicals, is optimally performed on cell suspensions. This makes it unsuitable for the study of adherent endothelial cell monolayers because disrupting the monolayer to induce a cell suspension could introduce confounding factors. This problem was eliminated through the use of endothelial cells that were grown to confluence on microcarrier beads. Using the spin trap 5,5-dimethyl-1-pyrroline-N-oxide (DMPO), the nature of free radical species generated by suspensions of microcarrier bead adherent porcine pulmonary endothelial cells under various forms of oxidant stress was examined. Exposure of these endothelial cells to paraquat resulted in the spin trapping of superoxide (·O2-). Endothelial cell incubation in the presence of either bolus or continuous fluxes of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) yielded spin trap evidence of hydroxyl radical formation, which was preventable by pretreating the cells with deferoxamine. Chromium oxalate which eliminates extracellular electron paramagnetic resonance spectrometry (EPR) signals, prevented the detection of DMPO spin adducts generated by paraquat but not H2O2-treated endothelial cells. When endothelial cells were coincubated with PMA-stimulated monocytes evidence of both ·O2 and hydroxyl radical production was detected, whereas with PMA-stimulated neutrophils only ·O2- production could be confirmed. Neutrophil elastase, cathepsin G, and the combination of PMA and A23187 have previously been suggested to induce endothelial cell oxy-radical generation. However, exposure of endothelial cells to each of these agents did not yield DMPO spin adducts or cyanide-insensitive endothelial cell O2 consumption. These data indicate that endothelial cell exposure: to paraquat induces extracellular ·O2- formation; to H2O2 leads to intracellular hydroxyl radical production; and to elastase, cathepsin G, or A23187/PMA does not appear to cause oxy-radical generation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)699-707
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology


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