Nowadays, very diverse human activities generate urgent demands for fast, sensitive reliable innovative tools capable of detecting major industrial, military, and other dangerous products. An important part of these compounds are free radicals. Capillary electrophoresis (CE), especially in its miniaturized format (lab-on-a-chip), and other electromigration methods offer special possibilities to resolve this problem. These measurements have a great opportuness because of very wide chemical and biological role of free radicals. Several compounds, e.g. monomers and some biologically important groups (as are nitrones) oppose oxidative challenges by virtue of their trap very rapidly oxygen- or carbon-centered radicals and generating other radical species which are stable and biochemically less harmful than the original ones. In many cases, conventionally, the relative trap capacity is measured against tert.-butylhydroperoxide (TBH). In this lecture are presented numerous important free radical species (active oxygen-, nitrogen- and carbon-centered ones, as HO, NO etc) and their adequate in vitro and in vivo applied bioanalytical methods, including liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection and mass spectrometry, gas chromatography with mass spectrometry, capillary electrophoresis, electron spin resonance and chemiluminescence analysis. A simple and highly sensitive method is the capillary zone electrophoresis with amperometric detection (CZE-AD); It was introduced to determine indirectly OH by analysing its reaction products with salicylic and dihydroxybenzoic acids. Hydroxylated radical products of these acids are often used as a relative measurement in free radical research. Accurate determination of pK(a) values is important for proper characterization of newly synthesized molecules. CZE method was used for determination of their values. Are initiated new research fields as Fenton-, electro-Fenton and photoelectro-Fenton chemistry and foreseen their perspectives. Nitric oxide is an important cell signaling molecule in physiology and pathophysiology. An indirect method for monitoring nitric oxide (NO) by determining nitrate and nitrite by microchip capillary electrophoresis (CE) with electrochemical (EC) detection has been developed. The amount of nitrite formed in this reaction (analyzed by capillary electrophoresis) was compared with the amount of oxygen consumed (measured by polarography). Were observed a linear relationship between the amount of consumed oxygen and the amount of nitrite formed in the measured range. These results demonstrate that polarographic measurements of the amount of oxygen consumed in the reaction with NO could be used to estimate the concentration of dissolved NO in authentic media. Polarography is an adequate method also to quantitative kinetic study of the free radical activity and of the trapping capacity of different compounds. This method is based on measure of the catalytic polarografic current of Fe(III) in the presence of free radical sources (TBH, hydrogen-peroxydes), and their traps. Personal contribution of the authors in this field is discussed.
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