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Fed Proc. 1980 Nov;39(13):3138-43.

Proposed mechanism for neonatal rat tolerance to normobaric hyperoxia.


Induction of two forms of superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione peroxidase, occurs very rapidly in neonatal rat lung tissue upon exposure of these animals to 94 + % normobaric oxygen. No such oxygen-mediated enzyme induction occurs in the lungs of adult rats. The aged-dependent pattern of enzyme induction correlates with the well-established age-dependent tolerance of neonatal rats to hyperoxia. Enzyme induction occurs in the lungs of neonates in only those species known to be resistant to oxygen-provoked lung damage. Compromise of oxygen-mediated enzyme induction predisposed the neonatal rats to pulmonary oxygen toxicity. These data have formed the basis of the proposal that oxygen induction of the superoxide dismutases catalase and glutathione peroxidase provides a vital part of the defense mechanism against oxygen toxicity. A biochemical mechanism of oxygen-provoked pulmonary damage has been elaborated to explain the role of each enzyme in the protection against oxygen and free radical toxicity.

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