The most commonly used spin trap and the standard which measures new ones is PBN – alpha phenyl-N- tert butyl nitrone. Hundreds of studies have been conducted over the last ten years that have tested PBN and other “spin traps” in numerous conditions.
Spin traps have been shown to affect cellular oxidation states and oxidatively sensitive enzyme systems.
Recently, researchers found that the underlying mechanism of “spin trap” activity differs from antioxidants. Spin traps suppress gene transcriptional factors associated with a variety of pathophysiological states. In particular, spin traps modulate NF kappa-B regulated cytokines and inducible nitric oxide synthase that are implicated in AIDS, arthritis, arteriosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and other pro-inflammatory disease conditions.
Arguably, this mechanism involves actions at a level proximal to oxidatively sensitive signal amplification systems rather than simple neutralization of free radicals.
The wide variety of applications for spin traps has lead to an enormous effort by the pharmaceutical industry to develop new and patentable “spin traps” for use in medicine and diagnostics. Many have been discovered and are in various stages of clinical and pre clinical trials. Still, PBN remains the highest regarded and most extensively tested spin-trapping compound to date.
Dr. Denham Harman, the father of the Free Radical Theory of Aging, and keynote speaker at the 2nd Annual Anti-aging Conference in Monaco, referred to PBN and spin traps as a ‘breakthrough in anti-aging therapy’ with the potential to significantly slow down the aging process.