Blood Journal
Leading the way in experimental and clinical research in hematology

Effects of oxygen tension and pH on the respiratory burst of human neutrophils

  1. TG Gabig,
  2. SI Bearman, and
  3. BM Babior


The respiratory burst of human neutrophils was measured under conditions of hypoxia and low pH. O2 -- production by neutrophils activated with opsonized zymosan fell slowly as the oxygen concentration declined to 1%, then dropped more sharply, reaching negligible levels at oxygen concentrations less than 0.25%. Production was half maximal at an oxygen concentration of 0.35% (equivalent to approximately 10-microM dissolved oxygen). O2- production by the cell- free O2- -forming system prepared from zymosan-activated neutrophils showed a similar dependence on oxygen concentration. A drop in pH caused decreases in both oxygen consumption and O2-- production by zymosan-treated neutrophils, values at PH 6.0 being 10%--20% of those observed at pH 7.5. Experiments with the cell-free O2-- -forming system suggested that this decline in respiratory burst activity at low pH was due to inefficient activation of the O2-- -forming enzyme under acidic conditions.