First published May 1, 1985 - More info
Sonicates from unstimulated human neutrophils produce no measurable superoxide since the superoxide-generating enzyme, NADPH oxidase, is inactive in these preparations. Previous attempts to activate the oxidase in disrupted cells with conventional neutrophil stimuli have been unsuccessful. This report describes a cell-free system in which arachidonic acid (82 microM) was able to activate superoxide generation that was dependent upon the presence of NADPH and the sonicate. For activation to occur, both the particulate and supernatant fractions of the sonicate must be present. Calcium ions, which are required for activation of intact neutrophils by arachidonate, were not necessary in the cell-free system. In quantitative terms, the superoxide-generating activity in the cell-free system could account for at least 20-50% of the superoxide rate observed in intact neutrophils stimulated with arachidonate. Sonicates from patients with chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) could not be activated by arachidonic acid in the cell-free system. In three patients representing both genetic forms of CGD, the defect appeared to reside in the particulate fraction. The soluble cofactor was normal in all three patients and could be used to activate normal neutrophil pellets in the presence of arachidonic acid. Thus, at least a portion of the activation mechanism in the neutrophil, that residing in the soluble phase, appeared to be normal in patients with CGD.