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Physiol Res. 1999;48(6):445-9.

Hydrogen peroxide in the breath of rats: the effects of hypoxia and paraquat.

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Department of Medical Chemistry and Biochemistry, Second Medical School, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic.


The hypothesis that oxidative stress can be induced by hypoxia was tested by measuring the concentration of hydrogen peroxide by a luminometric technique in the breath samples of rats exposed to hypoxia and paraquat. The group of animals (n=15) exposed to normobaric hypoxia (10% O2) for three days had an increased amount of H2O2 (200%, P<0.001) in their breath in comparison to control animals. After 7 days of recovery in air, the exposed animals still produced significantly increased levels of H2O2 (152%, P<0.001). Paraquat administration was used as a positive control, since it is a redox cycling compound producing free radicals. In the animals treated with a toxic dose of paraquat, the peak H2O2 production was observed 5 h after i.p. injection (156%, P<0.02). Within the next 2 h it decreased to the control level and stayed constant for 48 h, when the animals began to die. It is suggested that H2O2, observed in the breath samples, is a product of a metabolic pathway that could itself be sensitive to oxidative damage.

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