The respective capacities of adherent human monocytes to metabolize endogenous arachidonic acid into leukotrienes C4 (LTC4) and B4 (LTB4) in response to activation with an ionophore, A23187, or to phagocytosis of unopsonized zymosan particles and IgG-sensitized sheep erythrocytes ( EsIgG ) were compared under optimal conditions for each stimulus. Resolution of the cellfree supernatant, after ionophore activation, by reverse-phase high performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC) identified only two products which eluted at the retention times of LTC4 and LTB4. There was correspondence between their quantitation by integrated optical density and radioimmunoassay, and the recoveries from the initial supernatant were 80% by radioimmunoassay. Activation of adherent monocytes from 12 donors by ionophore and by zymosan particles released 68.1 ng and 10.0 ng LTB4 and 29.5 ng and 2.1 ng LTC4, respectively. With trypsin pretreatment, the monocytes responded fully to ionophore activation but were inhibited in their response to zymosan particles as assessed by phagocytosis and leukotriene release, indicating that the zymosan stimulus acted through a trypsin-sensitive membrane receptor. When the response of adherent monocytes from nine donors to zymosan particles and to EsIgG were compared at identical particle concentrations and with similar numbers of ingesting monocytes, zymosan elicited LTB4 release (mean 6.7 ng) from all and LTC4 (mean 1.5 ng) from eight donors, while EsIgG caused low level release of LTB4 (mean 0.7 ng) from six and LTC4 from only one of the donors. Neither zymosan nor ionophore stimulation led to the metabolism of exogenously added [3H]LTB4 or [3H]LTC4 as assessed by RP-HPLC of the cellfree supernatants and by quantitation of the eluted labeled products. Thus, transmembrane activation of adherent monocytes by their receptor for particulate activators, in contrast to stimulation of their IgG-Fc receptor, reproducibly releases substantial quantities of LTB4 and LTC4, and may represent an important mechanism for regulating the microenvironment in the nonimmune host.

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