In vivo EPR imaging of the distribution and metabolism of nitroxide radicals in human skin

Guanglong He, Alexandre Samouilov, Periannan Kuppusamy, Jay L. Zweier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


While altered cellular free radical and redox metabolism are critical factors in many human diseases, it has not been previously possible to both measure and image these processes in humans. The development and application of electron paramagnetic resonance instrumentation capable of in vivo spectroscopy and imaging of free radicals in human skin are reported. The instrumentation uses a specially designed topical resonator and a 2.2-GHz microwave bridge. Noninvasive measurements of the distribution and metabolism of the topically applied nitroxide, 15N-perdeuterated tempone (100 mM), in forearm skin were performed. A single broad peak due to the concentrated label at the skin surface was initially observed, followed by a sharp doublet from the diluted label that permeated the skin. The penetration of the label into the skin and its metabolic clearance were modeled using kinetic equations. It was observed that the penetration process from the skin surface into the dermis and subcutaneous regions, as well as its clearance from these regions, could be described by single exponential functions. Phantom imaging experiments using the nitroxide showed that a spatial resolution of up to 50 μm could be achieved. The skin imaging measurements showed two bands in the distribution of the label along the skin depth. The first band appeared in the outer 400 μm of the skin, the epidermis region, whereas the second band was centered at a depth of 1000 μm in the subcutaneous region with a thickness about 400 μm. These two bands decayed and merged into a single band with time. The results are important in the understanding of the permeability and metabolism of free radicals in human skin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-164
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001


  • Bioreduction
  • EPR imaging
  • Free radicals
  • Metabolism
  • Nitroxide
  • Skin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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