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Redox Biology
Vol. 8, 2016, Pages: 226–242

In vivo evaluation of different alterations of redox status by studying pharmacokinetics of nitroxides using magnetic resonance techniques

Goran Bacic, Aleksandra Pavicevic, Fabienne Peyrot

EPR Laboratory, Faculty of Physical Chemistry, University of Belgrade, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia.


Free radicals, particularly reactive oxygen species (ROS), are involved in various pathologies, injuries related to radiation, ischemia-reperfusion or ageing. Unfortunately, it is virtually impossible to directly detect free radicals in vivo, but the redox status of the whole organism or particular organ can be studied in vivo by using magnetic resonance techniques (EPR and MRI) and paramagnetic stable free radicals – nitroxides. Here we review results obtained in vivo following the pharmacokinetics of nitroxides on experimental animals (and a few in humans) under various conditions. The focus was on conditions where the redox status has been altered by induced diseases or harmful agents, clearly demonstrating that various EPR/MRI/nitroxide combinations can reliably detect metabolically induced changes in the redox status of organs. These findings can improve our understanding of oxidative stress and provide a basis for studying the effectiveness of interventions aimed to modulate oxidative stress. Also, we anticipate that the in vivo EPR/MRI approach in studying the redox status can play a vital role in the clinical management of various pathologies in the years to come providing the development of adequate equipment and probes.

Graphical abstract

Keywords: Reactive oxygen species (ROS); Redox state; Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR); Nitroxides; Pharmacokinetics.

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