Hafer, K., Konishi, T. and Schiestl, R. H. Radiation-Induced Long-Lived Extracellular Radicals do not Contribute to Measurement of Intracellular Reactive Oxygen Species Using the Dichlorofluorescein Method. Radiat. Res. 169, 469–473 (2008).
The dichlorofluorescein method has become a standard technique for measuring reactive oxygen species (ROS) formed in cells by ionizing radiation. A recent report (Korystov et al., Radiat. Res. 168, 226–232, 2007) has suggested that the method is subject to an artifact in that it erroneously reports hydrogen peroxides generated in the extracellular medium as ROS formed intracellularly by ionizing radiation. It was hypothesized that radiation-induced extracellular peroxides enter cells in the minutes after radiation exposure and subsequently oxidize the intracellular dichlorofluorescin probe and that dichlorofluorescein fluorescence is not due to ROS formed intracellularly by ionizing radiation. We tested this hypothesis by measuring the contribution of long-lived radicals formed in medium by ionizing radiation on intracellular dichlorofluorescein fluorescence. We found no evidence that this artifact contributes significantly to intracellular dichlorofluorescein fluorescence. These results and those of Korystov et al. are discussed in view of cellular dichlorofluorescin leakage and radiation chemistry. We conclude that the dichlorofluorescein method is effective for quantifying intracellular ROS induced by ionizing radiation.