1. The NADPH-oxidizing activity of a 100 000 X g particulate fraction of the postnuclear supernatant obtained frm guinea-pig phagocytosing poymorphonuclear leucocytes has been assayed by simultaneous determination of oxygen consumption, NADPH oxidation and O2- generation at pH 5.5 and 7.0 and with 0.15 mM and 1 mM NADPH. 2. The measurements of oxygen consumption and NADPH oxidation gave comparable results. The stoichiometry between the oxygen consumed and the NADPH oxidized was 1:1. 3. A markedly lower enzymatic activity was observed, under all the experimental conditions used, when the O2- generation assay was employed as compared to the assays of oxygen uptake and NADPH oxidation. 4. The explanation of this difference came from the analysis of the effect of superoxide dismutase and of cytochrome c which removes O2- formed during the oxidation of NADPH. 5. Both superoxide dismutase and cytochrome c inhibited the NADPH-oxidizing reactin at pH 5.5. The inhibition was higher with 1 mM NADPH than with 0.15 mM NADPH. 6. Both superoxide dismutase and cytochrome c inhibited the NADPH-oxidizing reaction at pH 7.0 with 1 mM NADPH but less than at pH 5.5 with 1 mM NADPH. 7. The effect of superoxide dismutase at pH 7.0 with 0.15 mM NADPH was negligible. 8. In all instances the inhibitory effect of cytochrome c was greater than that of superoxide dismutase. 9. It was concluded that the NADPH-oxidizing reaction studied here is made up of three components: an enzymatic univalent reduction of O2; an enzymatic, apparently non-univalent, O2 reduction and a non-enzymatic chain reaction. 10. These three components are variably and independently affected by the experimental conditions used. For example, the chain reaction is freely operative at pH 5.5 with 1 mM NADPH but is almost absent at pH 7.0 with 0.15 mM NADPH, whereas the univalent reduction of O2 is optimal at pH 7.0 with 1 mM NADPH.
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