Prolonged, Intravenous Paraquat Infusion in the Rat. I. Failure of Coinfused Putrescine to Attenuate Pulmonary Paraquat Uptake, Paraquat-Induced Biochemical Changes, or Lung Injury

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Paraquat (PQ) was administered to rats for 7 days by iv infusion from osmotic minipump at dosage rates of 250 and 500 nmol PQ/hr. The efficacy of putrescine in attenuating pulmonary PQ accumulation in vivo and the resulting PQ-induced biochemical changes and lung injury were assessed in these animals by coinfusion of putrescine at rates of 2500 or 5000 nmol/hr. Dose-dependent, steady-state blood levels of both PQ and putrescine were achieved by 18 hr and maintained throughout the infusion period. Lung PQ content at 7 days was dose-dependent and up to 18-fold greater than corresponding blood levels. No evidence of toxicity was observed in low-dose PQ animals while weight loss and overt toxicity was observed in high-dose PQ rats between Days 4 and 5. Histopathological examination of high-dose PQ rat lungs revealed qualitative changes typical of PQ toxicity. Significant (p < 0.05) increases in lung glutathione and activities of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase and GSSG reductase resulted from both PQ doses, reflecting PQ-induced oxidant stress and increased demand on lung NADPH. A net decrease in lung NADPH (p < 0.05) was directly measured in high-dose PQ rats and may have contributed to the PQ-induced lung injury. Although putrescine is an effective inhibitor of pulmonary PQ uptake in vitro, the blood putrescine levels achieved in this study did not appear to inhibit this process in vivo. This was evidenced by putrescine's failure to decrease 7-day lung PQ content, PQ-induced biochemical changes, or lung injury.