Effect of fasting on hyperoxic lung injury in mice. The role of glutathione

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1990 Jan;141(1):141-9. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm/141.1.141.


Fasted mice exposed to 100% oxygen have more lung damage and die sooner than do fed mice. The mechanism responsible for this phenomenon has not been identified. We performed the following experiments to test the hypothesis that reduced glutathione content in lung tissue of fasted mice contributes to the increased susceptibility to hyperoxic lung damage. First, air-exposed mice were fasted for as long as 3 days. They had little change in lung levels of superoxide dismutase (SOD) or catalase, but they had a 41% decrease in glutathione by Day 3 (p less than 0.001). Second, fed mice and fasted mice were exposed to 100% oxygen for as long as 4 days. Both groups had nearly identical values of lung SOD and catalase, but the fasted mice had lower levels of glutathione (p less than 0.001). Third, fed mice received the glutathione synthesis inhibitor buthionine sulfoximine (BSO; 20 mM) in their drinking water for 2 wk and were then exposed to either air or 100% oxygen. Air-exposed mice receiving BSO for 14 days had no change in lung SOD content, a 43% increase in catalase (p less than 0.001), and a 41% decrease in glutathione (p less than 0.01). Oxygen-exposed, BSO-treated mice had no change in SOD and an increase in catalase, but lower glutathione levels, more deaths, and increased lung damage on Day 3 (BAL protein: 1.72 +/- 0.21 versus 0.94 +/- 0.08 mg/ml; p less than 0.01) than did diluent-treated mice. Fourth, fasted mice were given liposomes containing glutathione intratracheally.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Catalase / metabolism
  • Fasting / metabolism*
  • Glutathione / pharmacology*
  • Glutathione / physiology
  • Lung / enzymology
  • Lung / metabolism*
  • Lung / pathology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Oxygen / toxicity*
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism


  • Catalase
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Glutathione
  • Oxygen