Does lung NAD(P)H: quinone reductase (DT-diaphorase) play an antioxidant enzyme role in protection from hyperoxia?

Philip L. Whitney, Lee Frank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


NAD(P)H: quinone reductase, or DT-diaphorase, has been studied primarily in the liver where it appears to function as an antioxidant-like enzyme in the 2-electron reduction of some quinones to less toxic hydroquinones. This property together with new molecular biology evidence that oxidants such as H2O2 can induce gene transcription of DT-diaphorase provide especially intriguing reasons to examine the possibility that lung DT-diaphorase could have an important enzyme role versus pulmonary O2 toxicity during exposure to hyperoxia. We found that similar to the 'classical' lung antioxidant enzymes (superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione peroxidase) DT-diaphorase activity increased significantly in the late gestational fetal lung; also its activity was altered in the same way as the antioxidant enzymes by prenatal hormonal treatment. Another similarity is the DT-diaphorase activity was induced in the neonatal animal lung during hyperoxia, but not in the adult animal lung. However, using various drug treatments which markedly increased lung DT-diaphorase activity (e.g., 3-methylcholanthrene, butylated hydroxyanisole methimazole) we found no improved hyperoxic survival in the treated adult rats. Also, dicumarol treatment, which markedly depressed DT-diaphorase activity, did not diminish the hyperoxic survival rate in an O2-tolerant adult rat model. Thus, we conclude that unlike the classical antioxidant enzymes, increased pulmonary DT-diaphorase activity is probably neither necessary nor sufficient to protect against pulmonary O2 toxicity during hyperoxia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-282
Number of pages8
JournalBBA - General Subjects
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 21 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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