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J Clin Invest. 1981 Nov;68(5):1243-52.

Hydrogen peroxide metabolism in human monocytes during differentiation in vitro.


The capacity of human blood monocytes to secrete hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and superoxide (O2-) was measured as the cells differentiated during 4 wk of culture. Morphologic transformation of monocytes into macrophages, epithelioid cells, and multinucleated giant cells accompanied a steady increase in the content of protein per cell, from 0.77 mg/10(7) cells on days 0 to 11.77 mg/10(7) cells on days 20 to 29. In contrast, secretion of H2O2 by adherent monocytes was 859 +/- 73 nmol/60 min per mg protein (mean +/- SEM, n = 18) on day 0, rose 40% on day 3, and then fell rapidly, remaining below 6% of the initial values after day 10. The decline in capacity to secrete reactive oxygen intermediates was observed whether H2O2 or O2- were measured, whether the cells were challenged with phorbol myristate acetate or with opsonized zymosan, and whether the results were expressed per milligram cell protein or per cell. Superoxide dismutase activity tripled in adherent monocytes from day 0 to day 3, and thereafter remained elevated through at least day 16. In contrast, the activity of myeloperoxidase declined rapidly, catalase and glutathione peroxidase declined more gradually, and glutathione reductase and glutathione remained constant through the period of observation. Thus, the decline in capacity to secrete H2O2 could not be attributed to increases in cellular levels of these antioxidants. On the first day of culture, H2O2 release was enhanced up to fourfold by inclusion of sodium azide or potassium cyanide in the assay medium. This enhancement appeared to be due to inhibition of monocyte myeloperoxidase, rather than catalase. This conclusion was based on the kinetics and dose-response relationships for the effects of azide and cyanide on H2O2 release and on the activities of catalase and myeloperoxidase. Thus, the differentiation of human monocytes into macrophages in vitro is accompanied by an apparent reduction in the capacity to produce H2O2 and O2-. In this regard, the human monocyte-derived macrophage comes to resemble the resting tissue macrophage previously characterized in the mouse peritoneal cavity.

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