The role of superoxide anion generation in phagocytic bactericidal activity. Studies with normal and chronic granulomatous disease leukocytes.

The Journal of Clinical Investigation
R B JohnstonK V RaJagopalan


The capacity of human phagocytes to generate superoxide anion (O2-), a free radical of oxygen, and a possible role for this radical or its derivatives in the killing of phagocytized bacteria were explored using leukocytes from normal individuals and patients with chronic granulomatous disease (CGD). Superoxide dismutase, which removes O2-, consistently inhibited phagocytosis-associated nitroblue tetrazolium (NBT) reduction indicating the involvement of O2- in this process. Similarly, superoxide dismutase inhibited the luminescence that occurs with phagocytosis, implicating O2- in this phenomenon, perhaps through its spontaneous dismutation into singlet oxygen. Subcellular fractions from homogenates of both normal and CGD leukocytes generated O2- effectively in the presence of NADH as substrate. However, O2- generation by intact cells during phagocytosis was markedly diminished in nine patients with CGD. Leukocytes from mothers determined to be carriers of X-linked recessive CGD by intermediate phagocytic reduction of NBT elaborated O2- to an intermediate extent, further demonstrating the interrelationship between NBT reduction and O2- generation in phagocytizing cells. Activity of superoxide dismutase, the enzyme responsible fo...Continue Reading


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