Nonprotein sulfhydryls (NPSH), a major source of cellular reducing substances, were examined in lung tissue after short-term exposure of rats to O3. While the NPSH level was unaffected by low-level exposures (e.g., 0.8 ppm for up to 24 h or 1.5 ppm for up to 8 h), it was significantly lowered by higher exposure regimens (e.g., 25 per cent after 2 ppm for 8 h and 49 per cent after 4 ppm for 6 h). After exposure to 4 ppm O3 for 6 h the level of reduced glutathione (GSH), which accounted for approximately 90 per cent of NPSH in the lung, decreased 40 per cent but without a rise in the level of oxidized gluathione (GSSG). Treatment of lung homogenate with borohydride led to recovery of NPSH in exposed lungs to control values, suggesting that NPSH or GSH oxidation during in vivo O3 exposure resulted in formation of mixed disulfides with other sulfhydryl (SH) groups of lung tissue. Extracts of borohydride-treated particulate and supernatant fractions of lung homogenate were analyzed for NPSH by paper chromatography. From this analysis GSH appeared to be the only NPSH bound to lung tissue proteins via mixed disulfide linkage. The formation of mixed disulfides appeared to be a transient phenomenon. Immediately after a 4-h exposure to 3 ppm O3 the level of mixed disulfides was small (15 per cent of the total NPSH) but attained a peak (equivalent to 0.6 mumol NPSH/lung) after a recovery for 24 h. However, the level diminished considerably within 48 h of recovery.
A J DeLucia, M G Mustafa, M Z Hussain, C E Cross