The influence of hyperoxia on the acute toxicity of paraquat and diquat

James P. Kehrer, Wanda M. Haschek, Hanspeter Witschi

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Hyperoxia has been shown to enhance the toxicity of the herbicide paraquat. Experiments were conducted to learn more about the effects of oxygen following acute poisoning with paraquat as well as the structurally related herbicide, diquat. Rats were injected intravenously with various doses of diquat or paraquat and placed into an atmosphere of either 100% oxygen or room air. The time required for 50% lethality (LTCQ) of both diquat and paraquat was greatly diminished by hyperoxia and was dependent upon the herbicide dosage. Rats treated with 40 or 80 mg/kg diquat and exposed to 100% oxygen had a shorter LT50 than those treated similarly with paraquat. A dose cf 20 mg/kg was equitoxic in 100% oxygen while rats treated with 5 or 10 mg/kg diquat had a longer LT50 than rats treated with the same dose of paraquat. All animals exhibited severe respiratory distress terminally. The plasma concentrations and tissue distribution of either herbicide at 20 mg/kg were the same in oxygen and air exposed animals. W hen oxygen concentrations were varied between 100% and 60% rats treated with 20 mg/kg diquat or paraquat exhibited increasing but equal LTCQS. In 40% oxygen diquat treated rats died more rapidly than paraquat treated rats. These data demonstrate a toxic interaction between hyperoxia and diquat as well as paraquat

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-408
Number of pages12
JournalDrug and Chemical Toxicology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1979
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Chemical Health and Safety


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