Superoxide anion production by liver microsomes from intact, adrenalectomized, and cortisoltreated adrenalectomized rats has been determined. The amount formed was roughly proportionate to the amount of cortisol given, and a similar response was seen in the activity of NADPH-cytochrome c reductase. The amount of measurable superoxide anion was markedly reduced by the addition of superoxide dismutase. The increased production of this potent free radical with cortisol therapy suggests that its formation may contribute to some of the harmful effects of corticosteroids given in more than physiologic amounts.
D H Nelson, A Ruhmann-Wennhold