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Free Radic Biol Med. 2001 Jan 15;30(2):187-97.

Spin trapping of polyunsaturated fatty acid-derived peroxyl radicals: reassignment to alkoxyl radical adducts.

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  • 1Laboratory of Pharmacology and Chemistry, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, USA.


Polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) peroxyl radicals play a crucial role in lipid oxidation. ESR spectroscopy with the spin-trapping technique is one of the most direct methods for radical detection. There are many reports of the detection of PUFA peroxyl radical adducts; however, it has recently been reported that attempted spin trapping of organic peroxyl radicals at room temperature formed only alkoxyl radical adducts in detectable amounts. Therefore, we have reinvestigated spin trapping of the linoleic, arachidonic, and linolenic acid-derived PUFA peroxyl radicals. The slow-flow technique allowed us to obtain well-resolved ESR spectra of PUFA-derived radical adducts in a mixture of soybean lipoxygenase, PUFA, and the spin trap 5,5-dimethyl-1-pyrroline N-oxide (DMPO). However, interpretation of the ESR spectra was complicated by the overlapping of the PUFA-derived alkoxyl radical adduct spectra. In order to understand these spectra, PUFA-derived alkoxyl radical adducts were modeled by various alkoxyl radical adducts. For the first time, we synthesized a wide range of DMPO adducts with primary and secondary alkoxyl radicals. It was found that many ESR spectra previously assigned as DMPO/peroxyl radical adducts based on their close similarity to the ESR spectrum of the DMPO/superoxide radical adduct, in conjunction with their insensitivity to superoxide dismutase, are indeed alkoxyl radical adducts. We have reassigned the PUFA alkylperoxyl radical adducts to their corresponding alkoxyl radical adducts. Using hyperfine coupling constants of model DMPO/alkoxyl radical adducts, the computer simulation of DMPO/PUFA alkoxyl radical adducts was performed. It was found that the trapped, oxygen-centered PUFA-derived radical is a secondary, chiral alkoxyl radical. The presence of a chiral carbon atom leads to the formation of two diastereomers of the DMPO/PUFA alkoxyl radical adduct. Therefore, attempted spin trapping of the PUFA peroxyl radical by DMPO at room temperature leads to the formation of the PUFA alkoxyl radical adduct.

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