The role of superoxide anion and hydrogen peroxide in phagocytosis-associated oxidative metabolic reactions

The Journal of Clinical Investigation
R L BaehnerR B Johnston


The contribution of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and one of its unstable intermediates, superoxide anion (O2), to the oxidative reactions that occur in phagocytizing leukocytes was explored by depleting these cells of O2. This was accomplished by allowing them to phagocytize latex particles coated with superoxide dismutase (SOD), which catalyzes the generation of H2O2 from O2. Although the rate and extent of phagocytosis of latex coated with bovine serum albumin was similar to latex coated with SOD, the rate of oxygen consumption, [14C]formate oxidation, [1-14C]glucose oxidation, and iodination of zymosan particles was significantly enhanced by SOD. In contrast, the rate and extent of reduction of nitroblue tetrazolium (NBT) was diminished by 60%. These studies indicate that the majority of NBT reduction by leukocytes is due to O2, whereas stimulation of the hexose monophosphate shunt and iodination of ingested particles requires H2O2 generated from the increased reduction of oxygen by phagocytizing leukocytes.


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