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    Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) spectroscopy coupled with spin traps/probes enables quantitative determination of reactive nitrogen and oxygen species (RNOS). Even with numerous studies using spin probes, the methodology has not been rigorously investigated. The autoxidation of spin probes has been commonly overlooked. Using the spin probe 1-hydroxy-3-methoxycarbonyl-2,2,5,5-tetramethylpyrrolidine (CMH), the present study has tested the effects of metal chelators, temperature, and oxygen content on the autoxidation of spin probes, where an optimized condition is refined for cell studies. The apparent rate of CMH autoxidation under this condition is 7.01 ± 1.60 nM/min, indicating low sensitivity and great variation of the CMH method and that CMH autoxidation rate should be subtracted from the generation rate of CMH-detectable oxidants (simplified as oxidants below) in samples. Oxidants in RAW264.7 cells are detected at an initial rate of 4.0 ± 0.7 pmol/min/106 cells, which is not considered as the rate of basal oxidants generation because the same method has failed to detect oxidant generation from the stimulation of phorbol-12-mysirate-13-acetate (PMA, 0.1 nmol/106 cells) in cells (2.5 ± 0.9 for PMA vs. 2.1 ± 1.5 pmol/min/106 cells for dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO)-treated cells). In contrast, the spin trap 5,5-dimethyl-1-pyrroline-N-oxide (DMPO), which exhibits minimal autoxidation, reveals differences between PMA and DMSO treatment (0.26 ± 0.09 vs. -0.06 ± 0.12 pmol/min/106 cells), which challenges previous claims that spin probes are more sensitive than spin traps. We have also found that low temperature EPR measurements of frozen samples of CMH autoxidation provide lower signal intensity and greater variation compared to RT measurements of fresh samples. The current study establishes an example for method development of RNOS detection, where experimental details are rigorously considered and tested, and raises questions on the applications of spin probes and spin traps. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


    John P Gotham, Rui Li, Trent E Tipple, Jack R Lancaster, Taiming Liu, Qian Li. Quantitation of spin probe-detectable oxidants in cells using electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy: To probe or to trap? Free radical biology & medicine. 2020 Jul;154:84-94

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    PMID: 32376456

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