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Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 1994 Aug;11(2):153-8.

Increases in 5-lipoxygenase activating protein expression account for enhanced capacity for 5-lipoxygenase metabolism that accompanies differentiation of peripheral blood monocytes into alveolar macrophages.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor.


The capacity for 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO) metabolism of endogenous arachidonic acid (AA) is greater in alveolar macrophages (AM) than in their circulating precursors, peripheral blood monocytes (PBM); however, the ability of PBM to metabolize exogenous AA to 5-LO products is comparable to that of AM. In the present study, we examined the enzymatic mechanisms by which 5-LO metabolism of AA is altered during differentiation of PBM in the lung. Resting human AM exhibited greater steady-state levels of 5-LO (7-fold) and LTA4 hydrolase (2-fold) proteins than autologous PBM; moreover, they differed from PBM in that they contained a significant amount of 5-LO associated with the particulate fraction. Importantly, AM contained 40-fold more 5-lipoxygenase activating protein (FLAP) than did PBM, which correlated well with the relative abilities of intact AM and PBM to metabolize endogenous AA to leukotrienes. The FLAP inhibitor MK-886 was unable to block leukotriene synthesis from exogenous AA in the two cell types, despite its ability to completely inhibit 5-LO metabolism of endogenous AA. These observations indicate that, although FLAP is essential for the synthesis of leukotrienes from endogenous AA, perhaps by presenting AA to 5-LO, it is not required for 5-LO metabolism of exogenous AA. The differing roles of FLAP in 5-LO metabolism of endogenous versus exogenous AA are consistent with the conclusion that it is the markedly greater expression of FLAP, rather than of 5-LO, that is primarily responsible for the increased leukotriene synthesis from endogenous AA that accompanies PBM differentiation into AM.

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