Extent of O-2-release and chemiluminescence, attributed to singlet oxygen, has been compared in human monocytes and neutrophils during phagocytosis, stimulation by the surface-active agent phorbol myristate acetate, or contact with aggregated IgG in a model of immune complex disease. Monocytes generated O-2-and chemiluminescence with each of the three stimuli, although values were significantly less than those of neutrophils from the same individuals. Lymphocytes had no significant activity in either assay with any stimulus. Oxygen metabolites released from mononuclear phagocytes are highly reactive and could play a part in both the beneficial and detrimental aspects of chronic inflammation.

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