The effects of adenosine were studied on human neutrophils with respect to their generation of superoxide anion, degranulation, and aggregation in response to soluble stimuli. Adenosine markedly inhibited superoxide anion generation by neutrophils stimulated with N-formyl methionyl leucyl phenylalanine (FMLP), concanavalin A (Con A), calcium ionophore A23187, and zymosan-treated serum; it inhibited this response to PMA to a far lesser extent. The effects of adenosine were evident at concentrations ranging from 1 to 1,000 microM with maximal inhibition at 100 microM. Cellular uptake of adenosine was not required for adenosine-induced inhibition since inhibition was maintained despite the addition of dipyridamole, which blocks nucleoside uptake. Nor was metabolism of adenosine required, since both deoxycoformycin (DCF) and erythro-9-(2-hydroxy-3-nonyl) adenine did not interfere with adenosine inhibition of superoxide anion generation. The finding that 2-chloroadenosine, which is not metabolized, resembled adenosine in its ability to inhibit superoxide anion generation added further evidence that adenosine metabolism was not required for inhibition of superoxide anion generation by neutrophils. Unexpectedly, endogenously generated adenosine was present in supernatants of neutrophil suspensions at 0.14-0.28 microM. Removal of endogenous adenosine by incubation of neutrophils with exogenous adenosine deaminase (ADA) led to marked enhancement of superoxide anion generation in response to FMLP. Inactivation of ADA with DCF abrogated the enhancement of superoxide anion generation. Thus, the enhancement was not due to a nonspecific effect of added protein. Nor was the enhancement due to the generation of hypoxanthine or inosine by deamination of adenosine, since addition of these compounds did not affect neutrophil function. Adenosine did not significantly affect either aggregation or lysozyme release and only modestly affected beta-glucuronidase release by neutrophils stimulated with FMLP. These data indicate that adenosine (at concentrations that are present in plasma) acting via cell surface receptors is a specific modulator of superoxide anion generation by neutrophils.

This content is only available as a PDF.