N-(2-Mercaptoethyl)-1,3-diaminopropane (WR-1065) is the free thiol form of the radio- and chemoprotector S-2-(aminopropylamino)ethylphosphorothioic acid (WR-2721). Interest currently exists in the clinical use of WR-2721 and WR-1065 as radio- and chemoprotectors of normal tissues. However, measurement of plasma levels of WR-1065 has proven difficult, due to rapid drug oxidation. Therefore, we studied factors influencing the oxidation of WR-1065, in Hepes-buffered saline as well as in tissue culture media containing 10% fetal bovine serum. The rate of oxygen consumption by WR-1065, as determined using the Clark oxygen electrode system, was faster in medium plus serum than in Hepes-buffered saline. That this effect is largely due to the presence of trace metal ions in tissue culture media and serum was indicated by the observation that addition of Cu 2+ or Fe 3+ to buffer stimulated oxygen consumption. Addition of KCN inhibited the reaction of WR-1065 with oxygen, and this effect was dependent on KCN concentration. That KCN blocked WR-1065 oxidation to the disulfide was verified using Ellman's reagent to quantitate the free thiol form. The rate of oxygen consumption was shown to be affected by temperature as well as concentration of WR-1065. Catalase reduced the rate of oxygen consumption of WR-1065, indicating that peroxide is formed in this system. Superoxide dismutase had a stimulatory effect. WR-1065 was found to stimulate the hexose monophosphate shunt in A549 cells. Since this stimulation was prevented by the presence of catalase, it appeared to be due to the response of the cells to peroxide, formed as a result of WR-1065 autooxidation.