Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Arachidonate metabolism by human polymorphonuclear leukocytes stimulated by N-formyl-Met-Leu-Phe or complement component C5a is independent of phospholipase activation.

PMID 6417666


Release of arachidonic acid by the membrane phospholipase and metabolism by the 5-lipoxygenase pathway was examined in human polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs). The 5-lipoxygenase pathway is activated when PMNs are given arachidonic acid in ethanol and there is extensive metabolism to 5-hydroxyicosatetraenoic acid (5-HETE) and leukotriene B4 (LTB4). This activation event was shown to be altered by the ethanol because resting PMNs given arachidonic acid with bovine serum albumin fail to metabolize arachidonic acid. However, cells activated by the inflammatory agents N-formyl-Met-Leu-Phe (fMLF) or complement component C5a recruit the 5-lipoxygenase to metabolize exogenous arachidonic acid to 5-HETE and LTB4. When PMNs were incubated with arachidonic acid-bovine serum albumin and challenged with fMLF or C5a (des-Arg-C5a) they produced 49-75 pmol of LTB4 and 310-440 pmol of 5-HETE per 10(7) cells. PMNs stimulated by fMLF or C5a (des-Arg-C5a) do not induce membrane phospholipases to mobilize endogenous arachidonic acid and neither 5-HETE nor LTB4 is formed. In contrast, PMN stimulation by the ionophore A23187 activates both the membrane phospholipase and the 5-lipoxygenase to produce 5-HETE and LTB4 from endogenous arachidonic acid. Our results indicate that the lipoxygenase pathway is inoperative in resting PMNs but can be recruited by chemotactic factors to act on arachidonate from extracellular sources. It was previously believed that formation of 5-HETE and LTB4 by the PMN depends solely on phospholipase to mobilize endogenous arachidonic acid. The results reported here refute this concept and indicate that the role of phospholipase activation in PMN may be overestimated. Therefore, subsequent involvement of lipoxygenase products in mediating stimulation of PMN by inflammatory factors (e.g., as in aggregation and chemotaxis) remains in question unless an exogenous source of arachidonate can be identified.

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N-Formyl-Met-Leu-Phe, ≥97% (HPLC)