Stimulation of heparinized blood with 1 microM formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine (FMLP) resulted in the formation of < 30 pmol/ml plasma of 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO) products. The preincubation of blood with 1 microgram/ml of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) (Escherichia coli 0111-B4) for 30 min before stimulation with FMLP resulted in the accumulation of 250-300 pmol of 5-LO products per ml plasma. The major products detected were leukotriene B4 and (5S)-hydroxy-6,8,11,14-eicosatetraenoic acid which were produced in equivalent amounts. The priming activity was detectable with as little as 1-10 ng LPS per ml blood and was optimal using 1-10 micrograms LPS/ml blood. The priming for 5-LO product synthesis was optimal after 20-30 min of preincubation with LPS and declined at preincubation times > 30 min. The priming effect of LPS was also observed using the complement fragment C5a or interleukin 8 as agonists. Polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN) and peripheral blood mononuclear cells accounted for 80 and 20% of the synthesis of 5-LO products, respectively. The ability of LPS to prime isolated PMN was dependent on the presence of plasma and was inhibited by the anti-CD14 antibody IOM2, indicating a CD14-dependent priming mechanism. The priming of whole blood with tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) and LPS was additive and the presence of mononuclear cells did not enhance the ability of LPS to prime PMN, indicating that the priming activity of LPS is independent of LPS-induced TNF-alpha synthesis. The mechanism by which LPS enhance 5-LO product synthesis in PMN was investigated. Treatment of PMN with LPS strongly enhanced the release of arachidonic acid after stimulation with FMLP. The release of arachidonic acid was optimal 2-3 min after stimulation with FMLP, attaining levels 5-15-fold greater than those observed in unprimed cells stimulated with FMLP. These results demonstrate that LPS dramatically increases the ability of blood to generate 5-LO products, and support the putative role of leukotrienes in pathological states involving LPS.

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