Inhibition of ADP phosphorylation by both glycolysis and mitochondria in P388D1 cells exposed to H2O2 is described. Net glucose uptake and lactate production were inhibited by oxidant exposure (ED50 = 50-100 microM). Glycolysis was specifically inactivated at the glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase step by three independent mechanisms: (a) direct inactivation of the intracellular enzyme (ED50 approximately equal to 100 microM); (b) reduction of the intracellular concentration and redox potential of its nicotinamide cofactors; and (c) a cytosolic pH shift further from the enzyme optima. Consistent with inhibition of glycolysis at the glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase step, a rise in the intracellular concentration of glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate, dihydroxyacetone phosphate, and fructose 1,6-bisphosphate was observed. The calculated combined inhibition of glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase activity could be reasonably correlated with the depression in glycolytic flux rate with the appropriate modeling. The steady-state contribution by mitochondria to the total intracellular ATP pool was indirectly determined by the use of various metabolic inhibitors and was found to rapidly decline following exposure to 300-800 microM H2O2. The inhibition of ADP phosphorylation appeared to be related more to the direct inhibition of the ATPase-synthase complex rather than to the diminished capacity of the respiratory chain for coupled electron transport. Both the estimated rates of ADP phosphorylation by glycolysis and mitochondria and the estimated rate of ATP hydrolysis by ongoing metabolism were utilized to model the approximate decline in intracellular ATP expected at 15-min exposure to various H2O2 concentrations. Theoretical calculations and the measured intracellular ATP status were in good agreement. Oxidant exposure for 15 min resulted in dose-dependent killing of the cells (ED50 = 500 microM), indicating a close correlation between H2O2-mediated loss of intracellular ATP and cell viability. The possible contribution of impaired energy homeostasis during oxidant-mediated injury to the process of cell dysfunction and death is discussed.