Latex Beads as Vehicles for the Study of Free Radical Processes in Phagocytic Cells

  • Michael J. Thomas
  • Catherine C. Hedrick
Part of the Basic Life Sciences book series (BLSC, volume 49)


The phagocytosing human polymorphonuclear leukocyte (PMN) generates large quantities of oxidants: superoxide (HO and ·O 2 - , H2O2, and a chlorine-containing oxidant reputed to be hypochlorite. These oxidants are believed to aid in the killing of microorganisms since patients whose PMNs cannot undergo this “respiratory burst” suffer severe, recurrent infections. There appears to be good,1 but not unequivocable evidence for the participation of superoxide in bacterial killing by the human PMN. Extensive2 research has shown that ·O 2 - is neither a strong oxidant nor a strong reductant and, therefore, it is probably not a potent bactericide. The conjugate acid, HO$, should be sufficiently reactive3 to attack many components of the bacterial cell. Since the human PMN phagosome generally is assumed to be acidic, the acid-base equilibrium will be shifted toward HO. However, the disproportionation reaction rate increases rapidly as the pH approaches the pKa of HO, 4.8.3 It is not clear that attack on the susceptible bacterial cell components would be competitive with disproportionation.


Singlet Oxygen Methyl Linoleate Respiratory Burst Iron Salt Latex Bead 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael J. Thomas
    • 1
  • Catherine C. Hedrick
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryBowman Gray School of MedicineWinston-SalemUSA

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