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FEBS Lett. 1997 Oct 20;416(2):175-8.

2,7-Dihydrodichlorofluorescein diacetate as a fluorescent marker for peroxynitrite formation.

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  • 1Institute of Medical Neurobiology, Otto-von-Guericke University of Magdeburg, Germany. Heiko.Possel@Medizin.Uni-Magdeburg.de


Reactive oxygen species (ROS) have been implicated as an important causative factor in cell damage, including apoptosis and necrosis. Their proposed actions comprise lipid peroxidation, DNA damage, destruction of the mitochondrial respiratory chain and protein modifications. Recent experiments underline the importance of peroxynitrite, the reaction product of the two potent reactive species nitric oxide and superoxide. Several fluorogenic compounds have been used in order to determine ROS formation in living cells. Besides dihydrorhodamine-123 (DHR-123), at present mostly applied to monitor peroxynitrite, 2,7-dihydrodichlorofluorescein (DCF-H) is used for detection of hydrogen peroxide and nitric oxide. We employed a cell free approach to evaluate the specificity and sensitivity of DCF-H to various oxidizing compounds. Our studies imply that DCF-H is much more sensitive to peroxynitrite oxidation than any other compound tested. In order to study peroxynitrite generation within individual cells, primary glial cultures loaded with DCF-H were monitored with a laser scanning microscope. Microglia, stimulated to simultaneously produce the peroxynitrite precursors nitric oxide and superoxide, displayed the greatest increase in DCF fluorescence, whereas microglia producing either nitric oxide or superoxide alone showed a relatively small increase in DCF fluorescence. In conclusion, DCF-H was demonstrated to be an excellent peroxynitrite marker with the potential to detect peroxynitrite formation in living cells.

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