In an attempt to determine the mechanism of the profound defect in chemotaxis observed in the polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN) of human neonates, we have examined membrane potential changes and alterations in free intracellular calcium following chemotactic factor stimulation. Following exposure to formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine (FMLP), PMN from adult donors (11) showed a marked change in membrane potential (31%) as determined by fluorescence emission using the cyanine dye, 3-3-dipentyloxacarbocyanine [DiOC5(3)]. In marked contrast, FMLP-stimulated PMN from 10 human neonates failed to show any significant change in membrane potential (1-2%). Using the calcium-sensitive probe Quin 2/AM, FMLP induced an increase in fluorescence of up to 51% in adult PMN (10). In contrast, the change in intracellular free calcium induced in neonatal PMN was much less (32%; P less than 0.01). These results suggest that the profound defect in chemotactic responsiveness of PMN from human neonates may result from an inability of these cells to undergo changes in membrane potential following inflammatory mediator stimulation.

This content is only available as a PDF.