We have studied the expression of creatine kinase (CK) and the accumulation of creatine phosphate during the differentiation of human and mouse peripheral blood monocytes. Mouse monocytes cultured for 24 h do not contain detectable levels of CK and creatine phosphate. However, resident tissue macrophages and inflammatory elicited macrophages obtained from the peritoneal cavities of mice have 70 and 300 mU per mg protein of CK activity and contain 3 and 6 mol of creatine phosphate per mol of ATP, respectively. The major isozyme of CK in these cells has been identified as the brain form. These findings suggest that the differentiation of monocytes into macrophages is associated with the expression of CK and the accumulation of creatine phosphate. We have found a similar pattern in human monocytes. Human blood monocytes, maintained in culture for 24 or 48 h, do not contain detectable levels of CK or creatine phosphate. Monocyte-derived macrophages (monocytes maintained in tissue cultures for 1 to 2 wk) have up to 100 mU per mg protein of CK activity and contain 0.5 mol of creatine phosphate per mol of ATP. Human macrophages express multiple isozymes of CK including the brain (BB) and possibly the mitochondrial forms of this enzyme. Thus, the expression of CK and the accumulation of creatine phosphate in human monocytes is induced by their in vitro cultivation. The induction of CK during in vitro cultivation occurs independently of the concentration of creatine in the medium. However, the size of the creatine phosphate pool varies with respect to extracellular creatine concentration. Creatine phosphate and CK are not detectable in freshly isolated human lymphocytes, polymorphonuclear leukocytes or erythrocytes, but are found in freshly isolated human platelets.

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