Oxygen as an Antibiotic: The Effect of Inspired Oxygen on Bacterial Clearance

David R. Knighton, Vance D. Fiegel, Tim Halverson, Susan Schneider, Tony Brown, Carol L Wells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Previous experimentation with the guinea pig skin injection model showed that altering the fraction of inspired oxygen had a significant effect on infectious necrosis. Using the same model, we performed quantitative bacterial cultures to determine the number of viable injected bacteria 24 and 48 hours after injection. Animals were randomized to receive 12%, 21%, and 45% inspired oxygen. A significant decrease in bacterial number was seen at 45% inspired oxygen between 24 and 48 hours, and a significant decrease occurred at 48 hours between 12% and 45% inspired oxygen. These results demonstrated a prominent role for oxygen in bacterial clearance and host defense.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-100
Number of pages4
JournalArchives of Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1990


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