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J Leukoc Biol. 1991 Apr;49(4):360-8.

Activation of the neutrophil NADPH-oxidase by free fatty acids requires the ionized carboxyl group and partitioning into membrane lipid.

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Department of Pathology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115.


To investigate NADPH-oxidase activation, we studied the effects of free fatty acid (FFA), their uncharged derivatives, and calcium on membrane lipid structure and superoxide anion (O2-) release from intact neutrophils and in cell-free O2(-)-generating systems. This study determined that in calcium-free phosphate-buffered saline (PBS), cis-unsaturated FFA (cis FFA), trans-unsaturated FFA (trans FFA), and to a limited extent saturated FFA decreased the polarization of the membrane lipid structure probe 1,6-diphenyl-1,3,5-hexatriene (DPH), and these decreases correlated with partitioning of the FFA into the plasmalemma and the release of O2- from intact neutrophils and in cell-free preparations. Although a decrease in DPH polarization was always observed under conditions that resulted in the release of O2-, there was not a direct correlation between the amount of decrease in DPH polarization and the release of O2-. Trans FFA did not induce a dose-dependent decrease or as dramatic a decrease in DPH polarization compared with cis FFA, yet the trans FFA stimulated a greater release of O2- at 2.5, 5, and 10 microM concentrations. In addition, responses of the neutrophil to trans FFA, but not cis FFA, were differentially affected by the presence of calcium. When 0.1 mM calcium was added to the PBS decreases in DPH polarization in response to trans FFA were reduced by greater than 60%, whereas O2- was reduced by only 25-36%. The addition of 0.1 mM calcium 3 min after the trans FFA had partitioned into the membrane also reversed by 50-65% decreases in DPH polarization but did not affect the release of O2-. In the presence of 0.9 mM calcium, only the cis FFA decreased DPH polarization or stimulated the release of O2-. Calcium is known to interact more readily with the ionized carboxyl group of trans FFA, neutralizing the anionic charge through an electrostatic interaction. In support of the requirement for the ionized carboxyl group, structurally similar uncharged cis, trans, and saturated fatty alcohols; methyl esters; and aldehydes decreased DPH polarization in the absence and presence of 0.9 mM calcium; however, none of these compounds stimulated the release of O2-. These results indicate that, in addition to the partitioning of FFA into the plasmalemma, which results in calcium-modulatable decreases in DPH polarization, activation or assembly of the NADPH-oxidase requires the ionized carboxyl group.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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