We report the modification of a low-field whole-body NMR imager to allow radio frequency EPR spectroscopy. The instrument is designed to give optimum sensitivity for in vivo detection of free radicals. The RF circuit is able to operate over a wide frequency range (240-320 MHz) and is designed to handle input power levels of up to 12.5 W. The EPR resonator is of the loop-gap type suitable for samples up to 400 ml. A remote resonator coupling method has been developed enabling convenient matching adjustment. An automatic frequency control circuit is able to adjust for frequency deviations caused by animal motion. Where possible, existing imager hardware and commercially available instruments have been used. The instrument is controlled from a central computer via an IEEE 488 instrumentation bus. Here we present sensitivity measurements obtained from a variety of large aqueous samples containing nitroxide free radicals. We show that the instrument is suitable for the detection of exogenous free radicals in 200 g rats.
Bibliographical noteS J McCallum acknowledges financial support from Aberdeen University. M Alecci acknowledges the support of the European Union for a fellowship under the ‘Human
Capital and Mobility’ programme. This work was supported in part by the Medical Research Council.