An Expanded View of the Phagocytic Respiratory Burst

Bacterial Competition for Oxygen and Its Stimulation by Host Factor(s)
  • Myron S. Cohen
  • Bradley E. Britigan


Baldridge and Gerard in 19331 made the seminal observation that leukocyte consumption of ambient O2 increases markedly during the early stages of phagocytosis. Over the ensuing 43 years remarkable progress was made in characterizing the mechanisms and ramifications of this phenomenon, identified by Babior as the respiratory burst.2 Consumption of O2 by neutrophils and monocytes during phagocytosis leads to the purposeful formation of superoxide, a unique capacity of phagocytic cells. Production of superoxide and subsequent formation of other reactive oxygen intermediates (e.g., H2O2 and OCl-) is critical to the microbicidal activity of these cells.3 This is graphically demonstrated by the natural history of patients with chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) of childhood, whose phagocytes lack the capacity to develop a respiratory burst.3, 4


Phorbol Myristate Acetate Respiratory Burst Chronic Granulomatous Disease Hank Balance Salt Solution Neisseria Gonorrhoeae 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Myron S. Cohen
    • 1
  • Bradley E. Britigan
    • 2
  1. 1.Departments of Medicine and Microbiology and Immunology, Division of Infectious DiseasesUniversity of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Department of MedicineUniversity of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA

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