In vitro effects of hyperoxia on alveolar type II pneumocytes: inhibition of glutathione synthesis increases hyperoxic cell injury.Exp Lung Res. 1992 Nov-Dec; 18(6):845-61.EL
An in vitro model of alveolar epithelial oxidant injury was developed based on exposure to hyperoxia of cultured guinea pig type II pneumocytes using a biphasic cell culture system in aerobiosis. The present study investigates the roles of intracellular antioxidant enzymes and of glutathione in providing protection against hyperoxia. A 2-day type II cell culture in normoxia was associated with a significant decrease in protein, catalase, and Cu-Zn SOD cell content, whereas ATP cell content, Mn-SOD, and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activities did not change and glutathione cell content significantly increased. Exposure of type II cells to hyperoxia did not induce significant changes in cell content in protein, SOD, catalase, GPx, or glutathione cell content when compared to control cells (exposed to normoxia). With ATP cell content expressed as a cell injury index (CII), type II cell injury was found to increase with increasing O2 concentrations. Indeed, a 2-day 50% O2 and 95% O2 exposure resulted in a CII of -7.5 +/- 6.2% and 17.9 +/- 5.9%, respectively, LDH release by type II cells was not significantly increased after hypoxic exposure. Cell injury effects of hyperoxia did not correlate with the endogenous antioxidant enzyme activities (SOD, Mn-SOD, catalase). In marked contrast, there was a significant correlation between the CII and total glutathione content of type II cells (p < .01). This correlation was largely due to the close relationship between CII and reduced glutathione. Hyperoxic induced cell injury (as demonstrated by CII > 0) was clearly associated with significantly lower intracellular glutathione level when compared to experiments without hyperoxia induced cell injury (CII < 0). In addition, in the presence of buthionine sulfoximine (BSO), the ability of type II cells to synthetize new glutathione was severely impaired, whereas ATP cell content and cell antioxidant enzyme activities did not change. As a consequence, the reduction of intracellular glutathione significantly increased the susceptibility of cells to hyperoxia injury (p < .05). The results strongly support the hypothesis that the regulation of glutathione levels is an important mechanism in protecting hyperoxia-induced type II cell injury.