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J Free Radic Biol Med. 1986;2(4):289-93.

Prevention of oxygen toxicity with superoxide dismutase and catalase in premature lambs.


The use of high oxygen concentrations and high mean airway pressures during mechanical ventilation of premature newborn infants with respiratory distress syndrome leads in 20%-30% of the survivors to chronic lung disease. This study explores if exogenous polyethylene glycol conjugated superoxide dismutase (PEG-SOD) and catalase (PEG-CAT) mitigate oxygen toxicity in premature lambs with respiratory distress syndrome. Six pairs of premature lambs were delivered by cesarean section and treated by tracheal instillation of 60 mg natural sheep surfactant/kg/body weight. After birth, all lambs were ventilated with 100% oxygen, and one of each pair received a single intravenous injection of 1 million U/kg PEG-CAT and 50,000 U/kg PEG-SOD. At 8 h of age or after respiratory failure was established, the lambs were killed and the lungs were removed intact. Lung damage was assessed by microscopy. The arterial blood gases, pH, and mean airway pressures of the lambs treated with PEG-SOD/PEG-CAT did not differ from those of the controls. Mean PaO2 was greater than 140 mmHg during the first 4 h of the experiments. In the lambs treated with PEG-SOD/PEG-CAT, SOD and CAT levels were very high during the study period and less bronchiolar epithelial damage and lung hemorrhages were found at microscopy.

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