Evaluation of the hydroxylamine Tempol-H as an in vivo radioprotector

Free Radic Biol Med. 2000 Mar 15;28(6):953-8. doi: 10.1016/s0891-5849(00)00176-3.


Nitroxides are stable free radical compounds that protect against the toxicity of reactive oxygen species in vitro and in vivo. Tempol (Aldrich, Milwaukee, WI, USA) is a cell-permeable hydrophilic nitroxide and has been shown to be an in vitro and in vivo radioprotector. The limitations of Tempol as a systemic radioprotector are that it causes substantial reductions in arterial blood pressure when administered intravenously and is associated with seizure activity. Furthermore, Tempol is rapidly reduced to its hydroxylamine form, Tempol-H, which limits the period of time the active form of the nitroxide is available for radioprotection. Based on initial pharmacological and blood pressure experiments performed in mice, we hypothesized that the systemic administration of Tempol-H in vivo would lead to an equilibration between Tempol and Tempol-H that would limit the toxicity of the nitroxide and provide in vivo radioprotection. Tempol-H was administered in increasing doses via an intraperitoneal route to C3H mice. The maximally tolerated dose was found to be 325 mg/kg. The whole-blood pharmacology of Tempol-H was investigated with electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy. These studies demonstrated the appearance of Tempol in whole blood immediately after intraperitoneal injection, suggesting that rapid oxidation of Tempol-H to Tempol takes place in vivo. Although the peak concentration of Tempol in whole blood after administration of Tempol-H did not reach the same levels as those observed when Tempol is administered, the whole-blood levels of Tempol were similar by 10 min after injection. Tempol-H provided protection against the lethality of whole-body radiation in C3H mice at 30 d with a dose modification factor of 1.3, which is similar to the results obtained with Tempol. Hemodynamic measurements in C3H mice after intravenous injection showed that Tempol-H produced little effect on blood pressure or pulse compared with Tempol. Tempol-H is a systemic in vivo radioprotector of C3H mice and is associated with less hemodynamic toxicity than Tempol.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Cesium Radioisotopes
  • Cyclic N-Oxides / blood
  • Cyclic N-Oxides / pharmacology*
  • Electron Spin Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Female
  • Gamma Rays
  • Hemodynamics / drug effects
  • Hydroxylamines / blood
  • Hydroxylamines / pharmacology*
  • Maximum Tolerated Dose
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Radiation-Protective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Spin Labels
  • Whole-Body Irradiation


  • Antioxidants
  • Cesium Radioisotopes
  • Cyclic N-Oxides
  • Hydroxylamines
  • Radiation-Protective Agents
  • Spin Labels
  • tempol