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, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 489–498 | Cite as

Effect ofin vivo administration of gold sodium thiomalate on rat macrophage function

  • Rita M. Turkall
  • Glenn A. Warr
  • Min-Fu Tsan
Immunosuppression and Inflammation


It has been shown that gold accumulates in macrophages.In vitro studies have also shown that long-term anti-inflammatory and immuno-regulatory effects on these cells may be responsible for the effectiveness of gold in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. However, the relevance of this information to thein vivo circumstance is largely untested. In this study, the effect of gold sodium thiomalate (AuTM) on rat alveolar macrophage (AM) lysosomal enzymes, bacterial killing, and metabolic activities associated with phagocytosis were assessed afterin vivo administration.

The activities of β-glucuronidase, acid phosphatase, and lysozyme were inhibited 1 day following a single AuTM injection (50 mg/kg, subcutaneous). However, lysozyme returned to normal, while the activities of β-glucuronidase and acid phosphatase were elevated from 4 to 12 days thereafter. When AuTM was administered weekly for 8 weeks, the activities of acid phosphatase and β-glucuronidase were elevated throughout, while lysozyme was largely unaffected. The increased lysosomal enzyme activities were not due to contamination of polymorphonuclear leukocytes. These long-term effects of AuTM on enzyme activity were in marked contrast to itsin vitro effect which inhibited the activities of β-glucuronidase and acid phosphatase. No effect of AuTM administration on the release of β-glucuronidase upon phagocytosis of opsonized zymosan was observed.

At 1 day following a single AuTM injection or 3 days after a second weekly injection,in vivo bactericidal activity of AM towardS. aureus was diminished. This bacterial killing defect was not due to decreased phagocytosis; thein vivo binding and ingestion of bacteria were normal. The defect correlated with impaired metabolic activities associated with phagocytosis, namely a significant decrease in the reduction of nitroblue tetrazolium and the stimulation of the hexose monophosphate shunt. This may be an attractive anti-inflammatory effect in light of the destructive potential of the reactive oxygen species produced by macrophages in an arthritic circumstance.


Rheumatoid Arthritis Lysozyme Acid Phosphatase Alveolar Macrophage Hexose 
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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rita M. Turkall
    • 1
  • Glenn A. Warr
    • 2
  • Min-Fu Tsan
    • 2
  1. 1.Departments of Clinical Laboratory Sciences and PharmacologyUniversity of Medicine and Dentistry of New JerseyNewark
  2. 2.Departments of Medicine, Radiology and Environmental Health SciencesThe John Hopkins Medical InstitutionsBaltimoreUSA

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