Monitoring the balance between oxidants and anti-oxidants, which is defined as a redox status, may help with providing a more efficient treatment of tumours, but it may also allow for a better understanding of neurodegenerative diseases. The balance between oxidation and reduction plays a crucial role in the well-being of lives. Electron Paramagnetic Resonance is a unique and non-invasive imaging tool which is capable of detecting redox-sensitive probes which can map the redox environment of a tissue or a cell.
A research group from the Ohio State University has collected the advantages and examples of the use of EPR imaging and presented them in a paper titled “Redox Mapping of Biological Samples Using EPR Imaging”.
Oxidative stress has been found to be one of the indicators of many pathological changes such as malignancy or inflammation. The possibility of acquiring a redox map of the tumour, provided by EPR imaging, can lead to the development of more effective therapeutic strategies.
The authors of the paper presented a few experiments that showed the potential of EPR imaging. In the first one, the process of creating a redox map using electron paramagnetic resonance was described. Then the authors presented examples of application of imaging redox status in malignant tissue versus a normal one, in radiation-induced fibrosarcoma. There is also an examination of the effect of UV exposure on skin redox status. In another studies, imaging of the redox state was used to estimate the in vivo intracerebral reducing ability of mature rats after neonatal hypoxic-ischemic brain injury and to show the ischemic regions in isolated rat’s hearts. The last example of the use of EPR imaging concerned the use of a nitroxide spin label to measure the oxidative stress in the brain with Alzheimer's disease.
It has been confirmed that EPR imaging has a wide range of applications and it is found to be helpful for the detection and the examination of not only oncological diseases, but also other pathological states in living organisms.
Aditi C. Kulkarni, Anna Bratasz, Brian Rivera, Murali C. Krishna, Periannan Kuppusamy; Redox Mapping of Biological Samples Using EPR Imaging; Israel Journal of Chemistry (Online) 48(1):27 - 31; DOI: 10.1560/IJC.48.1.27.