Photooxidation of Amplex Red to resorufin: implications of exposing the Amplex Red assay to light

Free Radic Biol Med. 2012 Sep 1;53(5):1080-7. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2012.06.034. Epub 2012 Jul 3.


The Amplex Red assay, a fluorescent assay for the detection of H(2)O(2), relies on the reaction of H(2)O(2) and colorless, nonfluorescent Amplex Red with a 1:1 stoichiometry to form colored, fluorescent resorufin, catalyzed by horseradish peroxidase (HRP). We have found that resorufin is artifactually formed when Amplex Red is exposed to light. In the absence of H(2)O(2) and HRP, the absorption and fluorescence spectra of Amplex Red changed during exposure to ambient room light or instrumental excitation light, clearly indicating that the fluorescent product resorufin had formed. This photochemistry was initiated by trace amounts of resorufin that are present in Amplex Red stock solutions. ESR spin-trapping studies demonstrated that superoxide radical was an intermediate in this process. Oxygen consumption measurements further confirmed that superoxide and H(2)O(2) were artifactually produced by the photooxidation of Amplex Red. The artifactual formation of resorufin was also significantly increased by the presence of superoxide dismutase or HRP. This photooxidation process will result in a less sensitive assay for H(2)O(2) under ambient light exposure and potentially invalid measurements under high energy exposure such as UVA irradiation. In general, precautions should be taken to minimize exposure to light during measurement of oxidative stress with Amplex Red.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Hydrogen Peroxide / analysis
  • Oxazines / chemistry*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Photochemical Processes
  • Ultraviolet Rays*


  • Oxazines
  • Amplex Red
  • resorufin
  • Hydrogen Peroxide