In vivo radioprotection and effects on blood pressure of the stable free radical nitroxides

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1998 Nov 1;42(4):839-42. doi: 10.1016/s0360-3016(98)00317-4.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to screen several water soluble nitroxides for in vivo radioprotection, to evaluate their pharmacology, and to measure the effect of nitroxides on systemic blood pressure as a means of exploring the mechanism of in vivo radioprotection.

Methods and materials: A number of water soluble nitroxides were screened for in vivo radioprotection in C3H mice at a single radiation dose. Selected nitroxides were administered by the intraperitoneal route 10 minutes prior to a whole body radiation dose of 9 Gy. Electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy (EPR) was used to measure whole blood levels of nitroxides. The nitroxides were evaluated for effects on systemic blood pressure in C3H mice.

Results: All of the nitroxides studied demonstrated radioprotection compared to saline-treated controls. The 6-membered piperidine ring nitroxides including Tempol were reduced to the inactive hydroxylamine rapidly over 10-20 minutes. The 5-membered ring nitroxides were reduced more slowly over time. The 5-membered ring 3-carbamoyl-PROXYL did not produce a substantial decrease in systemic blood pressure after intraperitoneal administration compared to the other nitroxides studied. 3-carbamoyl-PROXYL was further evaluated over a range of whole body radiation doses and was found to provide radioprotection.

Conclusion: All of the nitroxides studied provided radioprotection. In vivo radioprotection for all of the compounds except 3-carbamoyl-PROXYL may be at least partially explained by the induction of hypotension and bone marrow hypoxia. 3-carbamoyl-PROXYL provided in vivo radioprotection similar in magnitude to Tempol and had little effect on blood pressure compared to the other nitroxides. Other mechanisms for radioprotection, including scavenging of free radicals are likely. 3-carbamoyl-PROXYL should be evaluated further as a systemic radioprotector.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects*
  • Cyclic N-Oxides / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Free Radical Scavengers / pharmacology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Radiation-Protective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Spin Labels


  • Cyclic N-Oxides
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Radiation-Protective Agents
  • Spin Labels
  • tempol