Yu Z, Li W, Brunk UT. 3-Aminopropanal is a lysosomotropic aldehyde that causes oxidative stress and apoptosis by rupturing lysosomes. APMIS 2003;111:643–52. During cerebral ischemia and following trauma, potent cytotoxic polyamine-derived aminoaldehydes form, diffuse, and damage adjacent tissues not directly subjected to the initial insult. One such aldehyde is 3-aminopropanal (3-AP). The mechanisms by which such a small aldehydic compound is excessively cytotoxic have been unclear until recently when we showed that 3-AP, having the structure of a weak lysosomotropic base, concentrates within the acidic vacuolar compartment and causes lysosomal rupture that, in turn, induces caspase activation and apoptotic cell death. Here, using cultured J774 cells and 3-AP as a way to selectively burst lysosomes, we show that moderate lysosomal rupture induces a transient wave of oxidative stress. The start of this oxidative stress period is concomitant with a short period of enhanced mitochondrial membrane potential that later fades and is replaced by a decreased potential before the oxidative stress diminishes. The result of the study suggests that oxidative stress, which has often been described during apoptosis induced by agonists other than oxidative stress per se, may be a consequence of lysosomal rupture with direct and/or indirect effects on mitochondrial respiration and electron transport causing a period of passing enhanced formation of reactive oxygen species.