Secretion of toxic oxygen products by macrophages: regulatory cytokines and their effects on the oxidase

Ciba Found Symp. 1986;118:211-30. doi: 10.1002/9780470720998.ch14.


We are attempting to identify cytokines that regulate macrophage secretion of reactive oxygen intermediates (ROI) and to analyse the biochemical basis of their effects. In both humans and mice, interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) appears to be the chief factor secreted by clonally unselected lymphocytes that enhances macrophage oxidative metabolism and antiprotozoal activity. In vivo administration of recombinant IFN-gamma enhances the ROI secretory capacity of monocytes in humans, and the secretion of ROI and killing of protozoa by peritoneal macrophages in mice. A protein secreted by murine tumours and certain non-malignant cells exerts opposing effects. This macrophage deactivation factor (MDF) both blocks the induction of activation by IFN-gamma and reverses pre-existent activation. MDF action is non-toxic and selective, suppressing the secretion of ROI, killing of intracellular protozoa, and expression of Ia antigen, without inhibiting secretion of several other products, or synthesis of protein, ingestion of particles or adherence to culture vessels. The suppressive effect of MDF is reversed over several days after its removal. This reversal is hastened by IFN-gamma. Profound suppression of oxidative metabolism accompanies the differentiation of murine monocytes into Kupffer cells. The capacity of Kupffer cells to secrete ROI and kill intracellular protozoa remains deficient even after exposure to IFN-gamma. Thus, four states of macrophage activation can provisionally be discerned: the transition of mouse peritoneal macrophages from the non-activated to the activated state is accompanied by a ninefold increase in affinity of the superoxide-producing enzyme for NADPH, without a marked increase in cellular Vmax or content of cytochrome b559. The MDF-induced transition of mouse peritoneal macrophages from the activated to the deactivated state is accompanied by both an increase in Km and a decrease in apparent V max of the oxidase. There are no changes in the phorbol myristate acetate receptor number or affinity, glucose transport, NADPH levels, cytochrome b559 content, catalase (EC GSH, GSH peroxidase (EC, GSH reductase (EC or myeloperoxidase, consistent with the suppressed ROI secretory capacity and antiprotozoal activity of these cells. The Kupffer cell, whose non-responsiveness to IFN-gamma may mark it as inactivated, appears to lack detectable NADPH oxidase activity, despite the probable presence of cytochrome b559, and in this regard differs from both non-activated and deactivated macrophages.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Products / pharmacology*
  • Cytokines
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / metabolism
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Interferon-gamma / pharmacology
  • Macrophage Activation
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Macrophages / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • NADH, NADPH Oxidoreductases / metabolism
  • NADPH Oxidases
  • Oxygen / metabolism*


  • Biological Products
  • Cytokines
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • NADH, NADPH Oxidoreductases
  • NADPH Oxidases
  • Oxygen