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J Clin Lab Anal. 2011;25(1):47-51. doi: 10.1002/jcla.20429.

Phagocytosis and nitric oxide levels in rheumatic inflammatory states in elderly women.

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Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Brazil.



Very few studies have investigated, in the elderly, the effect of rheumatic inflammatory states on phagocyte function and free radical production. The objective of this article is to evaluate phagocytosis by neutrophils and the production of nitric oxide (·NO) by monocytes in elderly women recruited among patients of the Brazilian Public Health System.


Forty patients aged more than 60 years with rheumatic inflammatory diseases were studied. Phagocytosis was measured by flow cytometry. ·NO production was measured by the total nitrite assay and conventional inflammation markers were determined. Data were analyzed with the Mann-Whitney nonparametric test and P<0.05 was considered significant.


C-reactive protein levels and white blood cell counts were significantly higher in inflammation than in the control group (P<0.05). The phagocytosis fluorescence intensity per neutrophil and the percentual of neutrophils expressing phagocytosis were significantly higher (P<0.05) in the test than in the control group. Furthermore, there was significant ·NO overproduction by monocytes, (P<0.05).


Phagocytosis and ·NO production are affected by rheumatic states. This suggests that the increased ·NO levels may play a part in the increased oxidative stress in rheumatic diseases in elderly women.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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