Several reports suggest there is a relationship between lung glutathione (GSH) levels and susceptibility to oxygen-induced lung damage. However, studies of other organs and cells indicate that a better relationship may exist between mitochondrial GSH levels and oxidant damage. We determined whether there is a similar relationship in the lung using a well- characterized mouse model and a series of interventions that alter lung GSH levels and susceptibility to oxygen-induced lung damage. Mice were fasted or given buthionine sulfoximine (BSO, 20 mM), which reduce total lung GSH levels and increase susceptibility to oxygen-induced lung damage. Mice were also given glutathione monoethyl ester (GSH-ME) intraperitoneally (5 or 10 mM/kg/day for 2 days) or intratracheally (0.2 mM once) in an attempt to increase lung GSH levels. Fasting for up to 3 days and the administration of BSO for 7 to 10 days decreased total lung GSH levels (p < 0.001 for both) but not lung mitochondrial GSH levels. Intraperitoneal administration of GSH-ME increased mitochondrial GSH levels (p < 0.001 in both fed and fasted mice), but it had little effect on total lung GSH levels and no effect on susceptibility to oxygen-induced lung damage. Exposure to 100% oxygen increased mitochondrial GSH levels in both the fed and fasted mice to nearly the same extent (p < 0.001 for both). However, the fasted mice had lower total lung GSH levels compared with the fed mice (p < 0.05) and increased susceptibility to 100% oxygen. The absence of a relationship between mitochondrial GSH levels and susceptibility to oxygen-induced lung damage, plus the capacity of lung mitochondria to maintain the GSH content when that of the cytoplasm is reduced and to increase GSH content rapidly and to a greater extent than the cytoplasm during hyperoxic exposure, indicate that mitochondrial GSH levels do not determine susceptibility to hyperoxic lung damage.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine