1. 244 albino rats from standard Wistar Institute stock have been kept for periods up to 72 days under the following conditions.
(a) Barometric pressure: 3040 mm. Hg. This means a partial pressure of oxygen of 635 mm. Hg and is equivalent to an 83.6 per cent oxygen mixture at normal barometric pressure.
(b) Temperature: 28°C.
(c) Humidity: 50 per cent relative.
(d) Rate of ventilation: 2660 liters per minute for all animals.
(e) Food and daily care were provided which induced normal growth in rats in the usual laboratory quarters.
2. The harmful factor in this environment was the increased oxygen tension. In our experiments the acute effects were active hyperemia and edema of the lungs, just as have been described by many investigators.
3. Only a small percentage of rats die from acute oxygen poisoning at the pressure employed. The majority return to good health objectively and survive several months of exposure.
4. Rats under 1 month of age display no clinical signs of acute oxygen poisoning, while in older animals the severity of the reaction and the mortality is directly proportional to the advance in age.
5. The symptoms of acute oxygen poisoning appear on the 3rd day of exposure in adults and reach maximum intensity during the 4th day, all deaths occurring at this time.
6. A continued weight loss is found in old rats, while the young gain weight, but not with normal vigor.
7. Adaptation to this toxic oxygen tension occurs in the albino rat during the first exposure, so that on reexposure acute oxygen poisoning does not develop.
8. Respiratory infection occurred sporadically in roughly 20 per cent of the normal adult rats in our laboratory colony. About the same incidence was found in the experimental rats during exposure; in most of these, chronic bronchiectasis and bronchopneumonia followed and proved fatal, indicating a lowered resistance in exposed animals.
9. Most rats exposed to an 80 per cent oxygen tension late in pregnancy have premature litters and die of acute oxygen poisoning, but if exposed early in pregnancy the majority survive.
10. Litters born during the first exposure of the mother are approximately 50 per cent underweight and die during the first 24 hours after birth.
11. A female, rendered resistant by a first exposure, produced a healthy litter during second exposure.
12. The continuous failure of adults to gain in weight and the fact that young animals grow slowly, together with the slowly progressing pulmonary pathology (11), indicate that high oxygen tensions not only produce acute changes in the lungs but also some alteration in the normal physiological processes, which may be termed "chronic oxygen poisoning."