Electron spin relaxation of synthetic melanin and melanin-containing human tissues as studied by electron spin echo and electron spin resonance

Okazaki, M.; Kuwata, K.; Miki, Y.; Shiga, S.; Shiga, T.

Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics 242(1): 197-205


ISSN/ISBN: 0003-9861
PMID: 2996430
DOI: 10.1016/0003-9861(85)90493-x
Accession: 040000170

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Electron spin lattice relaxation times (T1) and the phase memory times (Tm) were obtained for the synthetic melanin system from 3-hydroxytyrosine (dopa) by means of electron spin echo spectroscopy at 77 degrees K. Saturation behavior of the ESR spectra of melanins in melanin-containing tissue and of the synthetic melanin was also determined at the same temperature. The spin lattice relaxation time and the spectral diffusion time of the synthetic melanin are very long (4.3 ms and 101 microseconds, respectively, in the solid state), and the ESR signal saturates readily at low microwave powers. On the other hand, ESR spectra of natural melanins from the tissues chosen for this study, as well as those of synthetic melanins which contain Fe3+ of g = 4.3 and Mn2+ of g = 2, are relatively difficult to saturate compared with samples without such metal ions. These results show clearly that a large part of those two metal ions in sites responsible for the ESR spectral components with these particular g values are coordinated to melanin in melanin-containing tissue, and modify the magnetic relaxation behavior of the melanin. Accumulations of these metal ions in melanins are different from system to system, and they increase in the order: hair (black), retina and choroid (brown), malignant melanoma of eye and skin, and lentigo and nevus of skin.