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Faraday Discuss. 2000;(116):319-33; discussion 335-51.

Analysis of individual biochemical events based on artificial synapses using ultramicroelectrodes: cellular oxidative burst.

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Ecole Normale Supérieure, Département de Chimie UMR CNRS 8640 Pasteur, 24, rue Lhomond, 75231 Paris, France.


Carbon fiber platinized ultramicroelectrodes placed within micrometres of a single living cell are used to monitor cellular events. This artificial synapse is used here to collect and examine the very nature of the massive oxidative bursts produced by human fibroblasts when their membrane is locally depolarized by a puncture made with a micrometre sized sealed pipette. The electrochemical analysis of the response indicates that oxidative bursts consist of a mixture of a few femtomoles of highly cytotoxic chemicals: hydrogen peroxide, nitrogen monoxide and peroxynitrite, together with nitrite ions, which may result from a partial spontaneous decomposition of peroxynitrite prior to its release by the cell.

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