Protection from hyperbaric oxidant stress by administration of buthionine sulfoximine

K. H. Komadina, C. A. Duncan, C. L. Bryan, S. G. Jenkinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


To explore the role of glutathione in protecting rats from hyperbaric hyperoxia, we administered buthionine sulfoximine (BSO) to block γ-glutamyl cysteine synthase activity and decrease tissue glutathione synthesis. We then exposed these animals and their vehicle-treated matched controls to 100% oxygen at 4 ATA or room air at 1 ATA. After BSO treatment, glutathione concentrations in air-exposed controls decreased 62% in lung, 76% in liver, 28% in brain, and 62% in plasma. Paradoxically, BSO-treated rats were protected from hyperbaric hyperoxia. The BSO-treated animals seized significantly later and had a markedly prolonged time of survival compared with the vehicle-treated controls. We conclude that BSO treatment protects rats from hyperbaric hyperoxia, despite its effects of lowering plasma and tissue glutathione concentrations. This protection may be related to a direct effect of the compound in decreasing free radical-mediated tissue injury, increasing tissue antioxidant defenses, or increasing seizure threshold.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)352-358
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • gamma glutamyl cysteine synthase
  • glutathione
  • hyperbaric oxygen toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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