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FEBS Lett. 2000 May 4;473(1):58-62.

Detection of superoxide anion using an isotopically labeled nitrone spin trap: potential biological applications.

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Biophysics Research Institute, Medical College of Wisconsin, 8701 Watertown Plank Road, Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA.


We describe the synthesis and biological applications of a novel nitrogen-15-labeled nitrone spin trap, 5-ethoxycarbonyl-5-methyl-1-pyrroline N-oxide ([(15)N]EMPO) for detecting superoxide anion. Superoxide anion generated in xanthine/xanthine oxidase (100 nM min(-1)) and NADPH/calcium-calmodulin/nitric oxide synthase systems was readily detected using EMPO, a nitrone analog of 5,5'-dimethyl-1-pyrroline N-oxide (DMPO). Unlike DMPO-superoxide adduct (DMPO-OOH), the superoxide adduct of EMPO (EMPO-OOH) does not spontaneously decay to the corresponding hydroxyl adduct, making spectral interpretation less confounding. Although the superoxide adduct of 5-(diethoxyphosphoryl)-5-methyl-pyrroline N-oxide is more persistent than EMPO-OOH, the electron spin resonance spectra of [(14)N]EMPO-OOH and [(15)N]EMPO-OOH are less complex and easier to interpret. Potential uses of [(15)N]EMPO in elucidating the mechanism of superoxide formation from nitric oxide synthases, and in ischemia/reperfusion injury are discussed.

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