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J Clin Invest. 1976 Aug;58(2):399-407.

A role for adenosine deaminase in human monocyte maturation.


The occurrence of a deficiency of adenosine deaminase (ADA) activity in some patients with severe combined immunodeficiency suggests a possible relationship between the activity of ADA and the aberration of the immune system. To help delineate the function of ADA in the immune response we have examined its role in monocyte maturation. When incubated in vitro, peripheral blood monocytes transformed, within 3 days, to macrophagea as assessed by phase-contrast microscopy and an increase in the specific activity of the lysosomal enzyme acid phosphatase. The specific activity of ADA increased as much as ninefold, reaching a peak after the 1st day in culture, while the activities of other enzymes involved in the purine salvage pathway were not altered. Sucrose density ultracentrifugation of extracts prepared immediately after the isolation of monocytes revealed the presence of two forms of ADA with molecular weights of approximately 30,000 and 110,000. The increase in ADA specific activity during monocyte cultivation correlated with an increase in the activity of the smaller molecular species. A specific inhibitor ADA, erythro-9-(2-hydroxy-3-nonyl) adenine, prevented the increase in acid phosphatase activity, as well as the morphological changes associated with the monocyte maturation. These data suggest a role for ADA in monocyte to macrophage maturation. In view of the central role of macrophages in immune function, this observation may relate to the association of combined immunodeficiency and a deficiency of this enzyme.

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