Neutrophils undergo rapid morphological changes as well as metabolic perturbations when stimulated with certain phorbol esters. Stimulated cells initially exhibit pronounced projections emanating from the cell bodies, followed by rounding of the cells, reduction in granule number, and the appearance of intracellular vesicles. We show these vesicles to be derived, at least in part, from the plasmalemma. The experimental approach involved labeling stimulated and unstimulated cells with native ferritin and cationized ferritin, along with the cytochemical localization of ecto-5'-nucleotidase. The labeling patterns of the vesicles indicate that these structures are involved in both phorbol ester-stimulated adsorptive and fluid-phase endocytosis. Neutrophils stimulated with 12-O-tetradecanoyl-phorbol-13-acetate (TPA) exhibit two distinct rates of superoxide release in which the second, prolonged level is approximately 50% of the initial rate. All-trans-retinal, which we have recently shown to stimulate O2- release but not granule exocytosis or cell vesiculation, induces a single prolonged rate of maximal O2- release. Neutrophils treated with both all-trans-retinal and TPA exhibit only a single sustained rate of maximal O2- release similar to that observed with all-trans-retinal alone. Moreover, treatment of cells with all-trans-retinal blocks the vesiculation of neutrophils induced by TPA in a dose-dependent manner. This observation provides a possible explanation for the differences in the kinetics of superoxide release.

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