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Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2002 Jul;3(3):280-287.

Global effects of xanthine oxidase stress on alveolar type II cells.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Division of Critical Care Medicine, University of Wisconsin Children's Hospital, Madison, WI (NC, CW, WC, JZ); and the Departments of Pediatrics and Anesthesia, Division of Critical Care Medicine, Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center, Seattle, WA (WC, JZ).



To delineate biochemical details of graded xanthine oxidase stress toward cultured alveolar type II cells, particularly oxidant-mediated damage of type II cell nucleic acid, protein, and lipid, as an in vitro model of distant ischemia-reperfusion lung injury.


In vitro injury model using native rat and immortalized mouse alveolar type II cells and exogenous xanthine oxidase.


Research laboratory. Measurement: Cultured type II cells were subjected to xanthine oxidase-derived reactive oxygen stress at variable concentrations and incubation times. Reduction of type II cell double-stranded DNA, inhibition of de novo phosphatidyl choline synthesis, enhancement of lipid peroxidation, and suppression of mitochondrial redox capacity were analyzed in relation to high-intensity (xanthine oxidase, 25 munits/mL) oxidant stress. Alterations in type II cell cellular glutathione-related antioxidant repertoire were assessed at both high-intensity and low-intensity (xanthine oxidase, 1 munits/mL) oxidant stress.


High-intensity xanthine oxidase stress significantly increased type II cell DNA strand breakage, inhibited de novo phosphatidyl choline synthesis, diminished mitochondrial integrity, and enhanced lipid peroxidation in the absence of overt cytolysis. This injury was modulated with addition of exogenous glutathione peroxidase, or catalase/superoxide dismutase, but not glutathione or N-acetylcysteine. Although aspects of the glutathione antioxidant repertoire were similarly diminished with high-intensity xanthine oxidase stress, low-dose (long duration) xanthine oxidase stress augmented the activities of type II cell glutathione peroxidase and gamma-glutamyl transferase (the rate-limiting enzyme in glutathione synthesis).


High-intensity xanthine oxidase stress (in vitro model of in vivo ischemia-reperfusion) may overwhelm type II cell antioxidant defenses and mediate oxidant injury to nucleic acid, protein, and lipid in the absence of cell lysis. Immortalized murine type II cells seem to appropriately model xanthine oxidase-mediated nucleic acid and protein injury of native rat type II cells. Exogenous glutathione peroxidase reduces oxidant injury in this in vitro model. Depending on magnitude (and possibly duration) of the xanthine oxidase stress, type II cell glutathione antioxidant elements may be diminished or enhanced.

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