Rats were treated with chlorphentermine (30 mg/kg) 5 days a week for 4 weeks during which time a phospholipidosis developed in the alveolar macrophages of the lung. Compared to control macrophages, an enhanced chemiluminescence (CL), with altered kinetics, was generated when cells from treated rats were challenged with zymosan. The role of reactive oxygen species, particularly superoxide anion, in the increased CL was studied. Superoxide dismutase inhibited the CL from control cells correspondingly more than with lipidotic cells indicating processes other than the release of superoxide anion from the cells were involved in the enhanced CL response. While total oxygen consumption was similar for both cell populations, lipidotic cells released less superoxide anion during challenge than controls. Concomitantly, lipidotic cells showed an increase in lipid peroxidation. These results are consistent with an explanation that rather than being released by the cell, superoxide anion may become involved in a secondary reaction within the cell such as lipid peroxidation which is then reflected in the altered CL response.
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