Measurement of myocardial free radical production during exercise using EPR spectroscopy

Jay H. Traverse, Yuri E. Nesmelov, Melanie Crampton, Paul Lindstrom, David D Thomas, Robert J Bache

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Exercise is associated with an increase in oxygen flux through the mitochondrial electron transport chain that has recently been demonstrated to increase the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in skeletal muscle. This study examined whether exercise also causes free radical production in the heart. We measured ROS production in seven chronically instrumented dogs during rest and treadmill exercise (6.4 km/h at 10° grade; and heart rate, 204 ± 3 beats/min) using electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy in conjunction with the spin trap α-phenyl-tert-butylnitrone (PBN) (0.14 mol/l) in blood collected from the aorta and coronary sinus (CS). To improve signal detection, the free radical adducts were deoxygenated over a nitrogen stream for 15 min and extracted with toluene. The hyperfine splitting constants of the radicals were αN = 13.7 G and αH = 1.0 G, consistent with an alkoxyl or carbon-centered radical. Resting aortic and CS PBN adduct concentrations were 6.7 and 6.3 × 108 arbitrary units (P = not significant). Both aortic and CS adduct concentrations increased during exercise, but there was no significant difference between the aortic and CS concentrations. Thus, in contrast to skeletal muscle, submaximal treadmill exercise did not result in detectable free radical production by the heart.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H2453-H2458
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2006


  • Coronary blood flow
  • Electron paramagnetic resonance
  • Myocardial oxygen consumption
  • Spin trap


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