Release of the protein molecule, leukocytic pyrogen, is one of the many reactions exhibited by leukocytes after phagocytosis. After the ingestion of heat-killed S. albus, a 3–4 hr latent period exists, during which human peripheral leukocytes release no pyrogen, yet cellular metabolism is altered in such a way that pyrogen output may subsequently occur in the absence of further phagocytosis. Transcription of messenger RNA and translation of new protein are initial events in the. activation process, since addition of the inhibitors, actinomycin D, and cycloheximide or puromycin, during this period markedly depressed or abolished subsequent pyrogen release. These effects were noted to be dependent upon the time of addition of the inhibitors. None of the inhibitor drugs interfered with cell viability as measured by phagocytosis and hexose monophosphate shunt activity, nor did they alter the pyrogenicity of preformed leukocytic pyrogen. Vincristine did not inhibit pyrogen formation, consistent with its reported failure to alter RNA synthesis in mature human granulocytes. The glycolytic inhibitor, sodium fluoride, blocked pyrogen release both when added prior to particle ingestion or 1 hr after the initiation of phagocytosis. Whereas inhibition of phagocytosis would explain the sodium fluoride effect prior to 1 hr, this was not observed in leukocyte preparations incubated for 1 hr with S. albus before adding sodium fluoride. When sodium fluoride was added to preparations 2 hr after the start of incubation, the LP production was unimpaired. Potassium cyanide had no effect on cell activation or pyrogen release. These findings suggest that the primary energy supply for the activation process is derived from high energy phosphate bonds provided by anaerobic glycolysis. Since the major amount of cell activation appears to occur in the 1st hr after phagocytosis, this energy might be involved in the induction of a genome leading to the transcription of m-RNA and its translation into new protein or is required for polysome integrity during protein synthesis. It is suggested that this new protein may be leukocytic pyrogen itself, or an enzyme responsible for cleaving it from an inactive precursor.

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