Granulocytes collected by reversible adhesion to nylon wool fiber (NWF) function relatively well in standard in vitro tests; however, they have an abnormally shortened survival time in the circulation. Assuming that this rapid disappearance represents clearance and that recognition by phagocytes is important for such clearance, we used an autologous in vitro cell:cell recognition assay to determine whether phagocytes can detect cellular changes induced by exposure of normal granulocytes to NWF. Human granulocytes incubated with NWF 1 h at 37°C, eluted with 20% acid citrate dextrose plasma, and washed stimulated the hexose monophosphate shunt activity of normal granulocytes an average of twofold (193±40% of controls), indicating a recognition response. NWF-induced granulocyte recognition was not dependent on plasma factors or activated complement components but was dependent on the time that the granulocyte was on the NWF and was maximal by 60 min of exposure. After elution from NWF, granulocytes demonstrated resting glucose oxidation rates only slightly higher than normal; however, during the first 20 min of exposure to NWF, granulocytes increased their rate of 14CO2 production from [1-14C]glucose three- to five-fold. Therefore, experiments were performed to determine whether toxic oxygen metabolites produced by NWF-adherent cells might contribute to recognition. The results showed that (a) normal granulocytes exposed to NWF in the presence of scavengers of superoxide anion (superoxide dismutase) or free radicals (ascorbate, mannitol, or benzoate) and washed before assay did not stimulate glucose oxidation of indicator granulocytes; and (b) NWF granulocytes prepared from cells unable to generate high levels of toxic oxygen metabolites, i.e. cells prepared anaerobically or from a patient with chronic granulomatous disease, also failed to stimulate indicator granulocytes. Human granulocytes placed in contact with NWF show an oxidative burst and become recognizable to other phagocytes. Free radical scavengers are effective in minimizing this recognition conferred on NWF-procured granulocytes.
John C. Klock, Thomas P. Stossel