O2-evoked regulation of HIF-1α and NF-κB in perinatal lung epithelium requires glutathione biosynthesis

John J. E. Haddad, Stephen C. Land

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116 Citations (Scopus)


To test the genetic capacity of the perinatal lung to respond to O2 shifts that coincide with the first respiratory movements, rat fetal alveolar type II (fATII) epithelial cells were cultured at fetal distal lung P(O2) (23 Torr) and then exposed to postnatal (23 → 76 Torr; mild hyperoxic shift), moderate (23 → 152 Torr; moderate hyperoxic shift), or severe (23 → 722 Torr; severe hyperoxic shift) oxygenation. Nuclear abundance and consensus binding characteristics of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α and nuclear factor (NF)-κB (Rel A/p65) plus glutathione biosynthetic capacity were determined. Maximal HIF-1α activation at 23 Torr was sustained over the postnatal shift in (Δ) P(O2) and was elevated in vivo throughout late gestation. NF-κB was activated by the acute postnatal ΔP(O2) in fATII cells, becoming maximal with moderate and severe oxygenation in vitro and within 6 h of birth in vivo, declining thereafter, fATII cell and whole lung glutathione and GSH-to-GSSG ratio increased fourfold with a postnatal ΔP(O2) and were matched by threefold activity increases in γ- glutamylcysteine synthetase and glutathione synthase. GSH concentration depletion by L-buthionine-(S,R)-sulfoximine abrogated both HIF-1α and NF-κB activation, with HIF-1α showing a heightened sensitivity to GSH concentration. We conclude that O2-linked genetic regulation in perinatal lung epithelium is responsive to developmental changes in glutathione biosynthetic capacity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L492-L503
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2000


  • Antioxidant
  • Bronchopulmonary dysplasia
  • Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α
  • L- buthionine-(S,R)-sulfoximine
  • Lung development
  • Nuclear factor-κB
  • Transcription factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cell Biology
  • Physiology (medical)


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