The time course of hydroxyl radical formation following spinal cord injury: The possible role of the iron-catalyzed Haber-Weiss reaction

Danxia Liu, Jing Liu, Dachuan Sun, Jing Wen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Scopus citations


This study explores whether the hydroxyl radical (.OH)-one of the most destructive reactive oxygen species-plays a role in secondary spinal cord injury (SCI). First, we measured the time course of .OH formation in rat spinal tissue after impact SCI by administering salicylate as a trapping agent into the intrathecal space of the cord and measuring the hydroxylation products of salicylate, 2,3- and 2,5-dihydroxybenzoic acid (2,3- and 2,5-DHBA) by HPLC. The 2,3-DHBA concentration was significantly higher in injured spinal tissue than in sham controls at 5 min, 1 and 3 h, but not at 5 h post-injury. Second, we generated ·OH by administering H 2O2 and FeCl2/EDTA (Fenton's reagents) at the concentrations produced by SCI into the gray matter of the cord for 4 h and found that it induced significant cell loss at 24 h post-.OH exposure. Mn (III) tetrakis (4-benzoic acid) porphyrin(MnTBAP)-a broad spectrum reactive species scavenger-significantly reduced .OH-induced cell death. Finally, we generated superoxide and administered FeCl3/EDTA in the intrathecal space of the cord at the concentration produced by SCI and measured extracellular .OH formation in the gray matter of the cord by microdialysis sampling. We found that the levels of .OH significantly increased compared to the pre-administration level, indicating that .OH can be produced in vivo by the iron-catalyzed Haber-Weiss reaction. All together, we demonstrated that .OH is an endogenous secondary damaging agent following SCI and the metal-catalyzed Haber-Weiss reaction may contribute to early .OH formation after SCI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)805-816
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of neurotrauma
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2004



  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Hydroxyl radical
  • Iron-catalyzed Haber-Weiss/Fenton reaction
  • Microdialysis sampling and administration
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Secondary spinal cord injury
  • Superoxide anion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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