Glyoxalase I converts methylglyoxal and glutathione to S-lactoylglutathione and glyoxalase II converts this compound to D-lactic acid, regenerating glutathione in the process. A recent study from my laboratory has provided evidence that S-lactoylglutathione modulates microtubule assembly in vitro whereas concanavalin A (Con A) has been shown to increase microtubule occurrence in polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN). The present report describes the dose-dependent activation by Con A of both glyoxalase I and II in PMN and lymphocytes. In nine experiments with PMN, Con A (100 µg/ml) increased glyoxalase I and II activities by 19 ± 8% and 12 ± 10% (mean ± S.D.). In 17 experiments with lymphocytes, activation of the two enzymes by 10 µg/ml Con A was 30 ± 14% and 28 ± 8%. Changes occurred after a 1-min incubation with Con A and persisted for at least 60 min. Since both enzyme activities are increased it is not clear if S-lactoylglutathione levels are increased or decreased but presumably they change. The present findings are compatible with the hypothesis that Con A increases microtubule occurrence in PMN by affecting the glyoxalase enzymes. They also represent a newly described early biochemical change caused by Con A in lymphocytes.

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