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Nihon Yakurigaku Zasshi. 2002 Oct;120(4):229-36.

[Free radicals and oxidative stress: targeted ESR measurement of free radicals].

[Article in Japanese]

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Oita Medical University, 1-1, Idaigaoka, Hasama-machi, Oita 879-5593, Japan.


The detection of free radicals generated within the body may contribute to clarifying the pathophysiological role of free radicals in disease processes. As an appropriate procedure to examine the generation of free radicals in a biological system, electron spin resonance (ESR) has emerged as a powerful tool for detection and identification. A method for determination of oxygen radical scavenging activity using ESR and the spin trapping technique was developed. Oxygen radicals were trapped by 5,5-dimethyl-1-pyrroline-N-oxide (DMPO) or alpha-phenyl-N-t-butylnitrone (PBN), and the DMPO or PBN spin adduct signal was measured quantitatively by an ESR spectrometer. The spin trapping method using ESR has also been reported for not only in vitro and ex vivo measurements but also in vivo measurements. In in vivo ESR, nitroxyl radical is being used as a spin trap well. ESR signal intensities of nitroxyl radical are measured after administration to animals and the signal decay rates of nitroxyl radical have reported to be influenced by various types of oxidative stress. With this method, it is possible to specify the type of radical or the location at which the free radicals are produced. The spin trapping method by in vivo ESR is an effective procedure for giving non-invasive measurements in animals. ESR imaging in the organs of live animals can also be obtained after injection of nitroxyl radicals as an imaging agent using ESR-computed tomography. In vivo ESR imaging has been established as a powerful technique for determining the spatial distribution of free radicals in living organs and tissues.

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