Hyperoxia induced cellular damage was used as an experimental model system for examining the ameliorative role of antioxidants. Multiplication of HEp-2 cells in monolayer culture was inhibited after exposure to 100% O2 either hyperbarically at 3 atm absolute (atma) or normobarically at 1 atma for periods from 15 s to 4 h. The inhibition was characterized by a slower rate of replication for a period from 1 to 3 d after exposure than in unexposed cultures, and then massive cellular death. Less killing followed exposure to normobaric O2 than to hyperbaric O2, and the shorter the period of exposure to hyperoxia the less killing. Addition of 100 micrograms/ml of sodium L-ascorbate to unexposed cultures enhanced growth (cell number at 6 d) almost twofold. When added ascorbate was present only during hyperoxic exposure (but not afterward), subsequent growth in air was enhanced 1.6-fold. However, when cells were exposed without added ascorbate, there was from 2 to 12-fold greater growth in air in the presence of the added ascorbate (as compared to exposed controls). This greater growth was always only a partial reversal of the lethal effect resulting from hyperoxia. Addition of 25 micrograms/ml catalase did not affect control or exposed cultures. Addition of ascorbate plus catalase was not as effective as ascorbate alone in promoting growth; the catalase moiety antagonized some of the growth enhancing influence of ascorbate. This suggests that extracellular H2O2 was not a factor in the lethal effect resulting from hyperoxia.

Bornside, Tracey, , , , , , , (1983). Partial reversal by sodium ascorbate of hyperoxia-induced damage to HEp-2 cell cultures. In vitro, 1983 Apr;19(4):355-60. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6852835