Kinetic analysis-based quantitation of free radical generation in EPR spin trapping

Alexandre Samouilov, Valerie Roubaud, Periannan Kuppusamy, Jay L. Zweier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Because short-lived reactive oxygen radicals such as superoxide have been implicated in a variety of disease processes, methods to measure their production quantitatively in biological systems are critical for understanding disease pathophysiology. Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spin trapping is a direct and sensitive technique that has been used to study radical formation in biological systems. Short-lived oxygen free radicals react with the spin trap and produce paramagnetic adducts with much higher stability than that of the free radicals. In many cases, the quantity of the measured adduct is considered to be an adequate measure of the amount of the free radical generated. Although the intensity of the EPR signal reflects the magnitude of free radical generation, the actual quantity of radicals produced may be different due to modulation of the spin adduct kinetics caused by a variety of factors. Because the kinetics of spin trapping in biochemical and cellular systems is a complex process that is altered by the biochemical and cellular environment, it is not always possible to define all of the reactions that occur and the related kinetic parameters of the spin-trapping process. We present a method based on a combination of measured kinetic data for the formation and decay of the spin adduct alone with the parameters that control the kinetics of spin trapping and radical generation. The method is applied to quantitate superoxide trapping with 5-diethoxyphosphoryl-5-methyl-1-pyrroline N-oxide (DEPMPO). In principle, this method is broadly applicable to enable spin trapping-based quantitative determination of free radical generation in complex biological systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-154
Number of pages10
JournalAnalytical Biochemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 1 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Electron paramagnetic resonance
  • Kinetics
  • Spin trapping
  • Superoxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Molecular Biology


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