We have investigated the effects of granulocyte-macrophage (GM) CSF on two biochemical responses thought to play internal signaling roles in the neutrophils, namely the increase in the concentration of free calcium and the changes in the internal pH. The changes in the right-angle light scatter of the cell suspensions were also examined. GM-CSF was found not to affect the resting levels of calcium or the internal pH of the cells. However, pre-incubation of the neutrophils with the growth factor resulted in an increase in the magnitude of the calcium transients that follow the stimulation of the cells with chemotactic factors as well as a profound depression of the cell alkalinization that is induced by fMet-Leu-Phe, leukotriene B4, and platelet-activating factor, as well as by phorbol esters. The rapid cytoplasmic acidification elicited by these agents was apparently magnified. GM-CSF did not directly affect the Na+/H+ antiport as GM-CSF-treated cells were as capable as untreated cells of recovering from an acid load. The right-angle light scatter responses of the cells to the chemotactic factors were found not to be affected by GM-CSF. These results provide an initial description of the effects of GM-CSF on the cellular physiology of the neutrophils and insights into the mechanism of action of this factor as well as into the excitation-response coupling sequence activated by chemotactic factors.

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