The purpose of this investigation was to examine the effects of autonomic neurohormones, cyclic nucleotides, and related agents on the immunologic discharge of lysosomal enzymes from, and phagocytosis by, purified human neutrophils. In order to discern the possible intracellular mechanisms by which certain neurohormones influence neutrophil function, the concentrations of cyclic AMP and cyclic GMP in neutrophils were assessed during cell contact with phagocytizable particles and autonomic agents. The model system employed for study was the interaction of purified human neutrophils with rheumatoid arthritic (RA) serum-treated zymosan particles at 37°C in a neutral, balanced salt solution containing glucose. Neutrophils ingested the particles and discharged ß-glucuronidase but not lactate dehydrogenase activity during 30 min of incubation. Treatment of zymosan particles with RA serum was more effective than treatment with normal serum with regard to the extent of both particle uptake and lysosomal enzyme release. During contact of neutrophils with RA serum-treated zymosan particles epinephrine, isoproterenol, and cyclic AMP inhibited both particle ingestion and ß-glucuronidase discharge. These actions of epinephrine were associated with a concomitant elevation of cyclic AMP levels. In contrast to the actions of catecholamines and cyclic AMP, acetylcholine and cyclic GMP accelerated lysosomal enzyme release without affecting particle uptake. The actions of acetylcholine were associated with a concomitant elevation of cyclic GMP levels. Increases in neutrophil levels of cyclic GMP but not of cyclic AMP were associated also with the discharge of ß-glucuronidase provoked by particles in the absence of added cholinergic agents. The data suggest that the immunologic release of lysosomal enzymes from human neutrophils can be regulated by autonomic neurohormones, perhaps via the selective formation of appropriate nucleotides.

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