The effect of hyperbaric oxygen tensions on the oxygen consumption of mouse liver homogenates was investigated. It was found that hyperbaric oxygen rapidly inhibits the oxidative metabolism of the mammalian liver. Mouse liver homogenate exposed to an oxygen tension of 3837.8 mm Hg for 30 minutes demonstrated a 50.6% reduction in oxygen consumption compared to controls exposed to nitrogen at ambient pressure. The effects of reduced glutathione as a protective agent against hyperbaric oxygen toxicity were also examined. Liver homogenates pretreated with reduced glutathione and exposed to hyperbaric oxygen tensions demonstrated greater activity than untreated controls. It is concluded that: (1) Reduced glutathione protects important enzymes associated with oxidative metabolism by keeping them in a reduced and viable state, and (2) Reduced glutathione can stimulate oxygen consumption by increasing succinate formation through a reduced glutathione - succinate shunt.

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