Human alveolar macrophages release chemotactic activity for neutrophils, providing a role for alveolar macrophages in regulating inflammation in the lung. As alveolar macrophages produce large amounts of leukotriene B4 (LTB4), a chemotactically active lipoxygenase product of arachidonic acid, we investigated the contribution of LTB4 to the total neutrophil chemotactic activity produced by these cells. Normal human alveolar macrophages were recovered by bronchoalveolar lavage from healthy volunteers and incubated either with the calcium ionophore A23187 for 1 h, or with opsonized zymosan particles or latex beads for 3 h. Nordihydroguaretic acid (NDGA), a relatively specific lipoxygenase inhibitor, blocked the release of neutrophil chemotactic activity after all three stimuli in a dose-dependent manner. This correlated with blockade of LTB4 production as measured by high performance liquid chromatography using freshly isolated alveolar macrophages, as well as blockade of [3H]LTB4 production by macrophages prelabeled with [3H]arachidonate. Molecular sieve chromatography using Sephadex G-50 confirmed that essentially all of the chemotactic activity in the stimulated macrophage supernatants co-eluted with authentic [3H]LTB4, and that NDGA completely blocked the chemotactic activity in the eluting fractions. Readdition of authentic LTB4 (1 X 10(-7) M) to the NDGA-blocked macrophage supernatants restored the chemotactic activity in the supernatants. The macrophage supernatants did not contain platelet-activating factor-like activity, as measured by the stimulation of [3H]serotonin release from rabbit platelets, and by high performance liquid chromatography. NDGA did not change the protein-secretion profiles of fresh alveolar macrophages, or of macrophages prelabeled with [35S]methionine. The complement (C) components C5adesarg were not detected in any of the supernatants by radioimmunoassay. Concentration of the supernatants by positive pressure filtration (5,000-D membrane) did not augment chemotactic activity in the stimulated supernatants or uncover chemotactic activity in the NDGA-blocked supernatants. As with the 3-h studies, when alveolar macrophages were incubated overnight with opsonized zymosan, all of the increase in chemotactic activity could also be blocked by NDGA. These data indicate that LTB4 is the predominant neutrophil chemotactic factor secreted by the normal resident human alveolar macrophage in response to two major types of stimuli, calcium fluxes across the cell membrane and the phagocytosis of opsonized particulates.


T R Martin, G Raugi, T L Merritt, W R Henderson Jr


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